Bill Culbert was born in Port Chalmers, New Zealand in 1935. He studied fine art at Canterbury University School of Art (1953-56) and post-primary teaching at Auckland Training College, New Zealand (1957). He then came to London to study painting at the Royal College of Art (1957-60) where his contemporaries included Allen Jones, David Hockney, Peter Blake and Patrick Caulfield. Bill now divides his time between London and Provence, Southern France.
Culbert has exhibited regularly throughout his career, his first solo exhibition being at the Commonwealth Institute Gallery, London, in 1961. He represented New Zealand at the Venice Biennale in 2013. His work has been acquired by public collections, most notably in Britain and New Zealand.
Culbert's work is interested in the possibility of harnessing and drawing with light. Often re-appropriating found or prosaic materials such as suitcases, plastic containers and furniture in order to create light installations Culbert's work is striking and cinematic yet familiar and approachable. Colour has always been an important consideration for Culbert. He often draws on colour that already exists in the world, such as the transparent shades of plastic bottles, which he then accentuates with neon light-tubes; thereby borrowing pre-existing colour to achieve chromatic brilliance. The light and composition that Culbert engineers transforms these objects into new hybrid, surreal, playful and humorous works.