Untitled ['Abstract'] (c.1980-81?) [W/P]

Untitled ['Abstract'] (c.1980-81?) [W_P]#01FE

Synthetic polymer paint on paper, 86 x 62

Coll.: unknown

This interesting work does not appear to have been mentioned before it surfaced at auction shortly after Arkley’s death (undated); it was exhibited in 2006, as dating from c.1985. However, presuming that the work is authentic, an earlier date seems likely. In a 2016 auction in Melbourne, the work was listed as dating from 1979 (but without any indication of an inscribed date).

Although there are no other exactly comparable works, it seems inherently plausible as an example of his production from around 1980-81, sharing a number of stylistic characteristics with other works on paper from this period, including cross-hatched patterning in contrasting colours, and a roughly painted monochrome background (as in Room Interior 1980 [W/P]).

The diagonal arrangement of the forms suggests an axonometric drawing: cf. Table 1980 [W/P]. There is substantial tension between the flat patterning and the hints of 3D illusion, as in several other works of this period, notably Metallic 1981.


  • auctioned by Christie’s, Melb., 23-24 Nov.1999, lot 119, as ‘Abstract’, undated (ill. and dets. as above; no provenance indicated; est.$5-7,000; sold for $5,000 + buyer’s premium)
  • Private collection, Melbourne
  • auctioned by Menzies, Melb., 23 March 2016, lot 118, as ‘Untitled, 1979’ (ill., size and prov.as above; est.$6-9,000; not sold)


  • John Buckley Gallery, Richmond, 11/06: as Untitled c.1985 (work on paper, 85 x 62)