1985

1985 Works

Paintings

Agave Parviflora 1985
Installation photos (Arkley archive) indicate that this work was first exhibited at Tolarno in 1983 with the title ‘Peel of the Orange’.
Scan copy
This variant of Arkley's 1983 canvas was auctioned in Melbourne in 1992.

Works on Paper

Unidentified works shown in HA Quentin 2/85; the prices listed suggest that these were small works, perhaps working drawings.
Untitled [Cactoid Head] (1985?) [W_P]#E512
This work on paper appears in an Oct.1986 slide in Arkley’s archive, and is identified provisionally as a work first shown in HA Quentin Feb.1985.
Unidentified work shown in HA Quentin 2/85, again possibly a larger work on paper
Picasso Face (1985) [W_P]#BC67
A slide in Arkley’s archive, taken in 1986, shows the work hanging at Tolarno with several other works on paper
Unidentified work shown in HA Quentin 2/85, possibly a larger work on paper.
Triffids [poster] 1985 [W_P]#8FEF
A variant of the exploding box motif Arkley first used for the invitation for his Tolarno 1983 exhibition.
Zappo Head1985 [W_P]#8FA0
This is the definitive version of this composition.
Zappo Head (1987)
Although dated 1987 in HA Monash 1991 and in Spray, this work probably dates from 1985, and was certainly in existence by 1986.
arkley85 copy
Sophisticated doodle typical of Arkley’s mid 80s style.
Untitled [Head] 1985 [W_P]#1AB0
Like Untitled [‘Aztec Head’] 1984 [W/P], this drawing was given to Davila by Arkley c.1994 for possible inclusion in Icon Interior (1994-2001) [3/M].
Untitled (Man with baggy trousers) (1985?) [W:P]
A large-scale, highly resolved work in the doubled line technique Arkley was experimenting with around 1985.
Untitled [Seated Man] (1985?) [W_P] #2#E05F
Large-scale work on paper, again in the doubled-line technique datable to 1985.
Untitled [Man in Frame] 1985 (_) [W_P]#7DB8
One of the set of ‘finished’ works on paper made in a doubled-line technique around 1985.
Untitled (Man in Suit) (1985?) [W:P] copy
This work clearly belongs to the series of large doubled-line works on paper made by Arkley in 1985.
Untitled [Man Seen from Below] (1985_) [W_P]#4EC3
Another doubled-line sketch; again, the inscribed date is hard to decipher
Untitled [Two Heads] 1985 [W_P]#151C
Dated example in the doubled-line technique Arkley was experimenting with at this time.

Works on Paper Minor

SKetch c.1985
Various minor works on paper dating from 1984 include a number in the doubled line technique he was experimenting with at the time.
Hobart exh.9_85#9142

(photo: the three Arkley works on paper in the ‘6 Drawing’ exhibition in Hobart, Sept.1985 [archive slide])

As in 1984, Arkley produced very few works on canvas. Nevertheless, he was again very active, producing a number of major new works on paper. As his sketchbooks and visual diaries from this period demonstrate, his mind was teeming with ideas for works and exhibitions, many of which never eventuated (see now Carnival, esp.126ff., for a discussion of Arkley’s ‘virtual oeuvre’). His one-man exhibition at Quentin Gallery, Perth, in February-March, constituted a virtual survey of his career to date, assembling the largest group of his works prior to the Monash survey in 1991.

‘Zappo Head’, later such a distinctive signature image for Arkley, made its first appearance early in 1985, in a special issue of Tension magazine, and also (apparently) as one of the works shown in the Quentin exhibition: see Zappo Head [Visual Tension] 1985 [W/P] and Zappo Head (1985?) [W/P].

During the year, Arkley also produced a series of large-scale work-on-paper figures in an idiosyncratic double-line technique, possibly designed to serve as a drawn equivalent for his own sprayed line.  A formal point of reference for this unusual doubled line is suggested by André Masson’s ink drawing of André Breton (Paris, Pompidou Centre, 1941), recently exhibited at the Gallery of Modern Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, in the Pompidou Centre-sourced exhibition ‘Surrealism: The Poetry of Dreams’, 11 June-2 Oct.2011. Masson’s sketch, which employs a comparable faceted technique (and also includes a winged tower curiously reminiscent of Arkley’s characteristic cactus shapes), may well have been known to Arkley, who had an abiding fascination with Surrealism: for comments on its key role in his early development, see Carnival 161-63.

These various double-line drawings by Arkley, together with several smaller finished drawings, and a number of sketches in the same technique, form a significant series; several of them were signed and dated (at least one clearly dated 1985: Untitled [Two Heads] 1985 [W/P]). It remains unclear whether these works were exhibited, though this seems to be implied by a set of Polaroid photos showing people juxtaposed to some of them, e.g. Untitled [Man in Suit] (1985?) [W/P]. These photos also relate to a scheme in no. D 19 in Arkley’s sequence of Visual Diaries (dating from 1987ff.), for ‘couples’ in conversation: see now Carnival Fig.4.46.

1985 Exhibitions

‘Howard Arkley: Urban Paintings’, Quentin Gallery, Perth, Feb.- March 1985

- refer linked entry for full details

‘Visual Tension’, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, 19 Feb.- ? 1985

‘Meaning & Excellence: ANZArt in Edinburgh’, George Paton Gallery, Melb. U., 20 Feb.-20 March 1985

(for details of works shown, see 1984; review of the Melbourne show: Trebilcock 1985)

‘6 Drawing’, Tasmanian School of Art, Hobart, 9-28 Sept.1985

(curated by John R.Neeson; slides and catalogue in Arkley’s files; the other 5 artists were Irene Barberis, Paul Boston, Janenne Eaton, Adrienne Gaha and Gareth Sansom; Arkley works all listed as SPP on P, 112.5 x 152, 1984)

‘Victoria – views by contemporary artists’, Benalla, Castlemaine & Geelong, 10/85-1/86