His artistic breakthrough happened at his Oslo-debut in Gallery Dobloug in 1983, and several key institutions purchased his works. The critics were positive, several deemed him a postmodern painter, given how he elegantly fused together elements from art historical styles with different types of symbols, and refigured them into things with a new distinctive character.
Since the early ’90s he has developed the painting towards what we still view as his foremost hallmark: A voluptuous baroque style, where the motif is sketched in sharp colours against an almost always night-black background. The dramatic mode of painting emphasizes a theme that receives increasing place in Gullvåg’s art; the transience of being.
Experiences from childhood and his own children’s adolescence are central themes throughout his artistic oeuvre. Moreover, the still life as well as the literary motif becomes important in the course of the 1980s.
Since 1995 Gullvåg has received several large commissions for liturgical artworks, distinguishing himself as one of Norway’s foremost artists in this field. Almost parallel to this, he received acclaim for his portrait-project of well-known Norwegians) – in recent years his portraits of the king and queen have generated considerable attention.
Also his works temporarily mounted in Nidaros Cathedral, Summer 2005, have created great media attention and many heated debates. Indeed, it has been several decades since we last saw an artist who has managed to create so much debate and at such intensity.
Gullvåg has the last decades also received much recognition for his graphic works.