1995

1995 Works

Paintings

Bum Flowers 1995
This collaborative picture by Arkley and Alison Burton was painted for a mutual friend.
Flash Villa 1995
A variant of Actual Fractual (1994), documented in Arkley's files
Floral Facarde 1995
Variant of both Spray Veneer (1994) and Floriated Residence (1994).
Freeway (Exit) 1995
This work, probably exhibited by Bellas in 1996, was shown at Metro 5 in 2002.
Matt's Topy + Cacti 1995
A small variant of Arkley’s mid 1980s cactus imagery, painted as a gift.
Outside-Inside-Out 1995
The panels in this series, made for the 'Downtown' exhibition, reprise Arkley's late 70s/early 80s 'doors' in a more refined style.

Works on Paper

B_W Veneer 1995 [W_P]#A8D8
This work, a variant of Spray Veneer 1994, was auctioned by Bonham and Goodman in 2007.
Black and White Icon 1995 [W_P]#B223
This work reprises an icon composition first used by Arkley in 1984.
Cacti and Succulent 1995 [W_P]#A7E4
This work elaborates on the artist's mid-late 1980s cactus imagery.
Cartographer 1995 [W_P]#DD1C
Variant of Cartographer (After Durer) 1983, shown at Tolarno 9/95.
Corner house (study) 1995 [W_P]#7B0E
Elegant work on paper variant of Indoors-Outdoors (1994).
High Fenced 1995 [W_P]#03C1
This work was shown at Heide in 2002, in an exhibition tracing the legacy of Op Art in Australia.
Home Enclosed by Fence 1995 [W_P]#863F
Work-on-paper variant of Brand New (1994).
Ketoacidosis...(1995) [W_P]#A7CD
Exhibited in Arkley’s ‘White + Black’ show at Tolarno in Sept.1995.
Letter-box Home 1995 [W_P]#35CE
Work-on-paper precursor of Floral Exterior (1996) and Houseomorphics (1996).
150237 copy
Work on paper closely related to Room within a Home (1995) [W/P]
Primitive [replica] 1995[W_P]#1F75
Variant of Primitive [mural] (1981) [W/P], made for Arkley’s 1995 ‘White + Black’ show at Tolarno.
Room within a home 1995 [W_P]#B419
Work on paper variant of A Roomfull (1994).
Suburban Exterior (1995) [W-P]
This work was acquired in 1996, together with Suburban Interior (1995) [W/P]
Untitled [Interior] (1995?) [W_P?#1462
This work and Suburban Exterior (1995) [W/P] were both acquired in 1996.
Supa room study 1995 [W_P]#6424
Variant of Interior Tableau 1992, shown in HA Tolarno 9/95.
Tudor village 1995 [W_P]#FBF7
Variant of Arkley's Tudor compositions, shown in HA Tolarno 9/95.
09a copy
This work is comparable with other monochrome works on paper from 1995, and is also related to several 1996 canvases of the same subject.

Works on Paper Minor

HA (Study) 1995
A number of Arkley's coloured photocopies of suburban house compositions (a favourite at auction in the years following his death) date from 1995.
NGV Into & Out of Abstraction 1995-6

(photo: installation view of ‘Into and Out of Abstraction’, NGV, 5 Dec.1995-5 Feb.1996 [source: Arkley files])

Arkley’s status as a major mid-career Australian painter grew considerably during the year. At the same time – in fact, possibly as a direct consequence of his growing status and visibility (aka the ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’) – his art began to attract harsher and more searching criticism than it had often received in the past. Two major exhibitions featured his work during the year.

In ‘Downtown’ (MOMA at Heide, 14 March -14 May), curator Juliana Engberg – who had written some of the most insightful earlier commentary on Arkley’s art (see bibliography: 1987, 1988 and 1991) – set his work into creative connection with that of two of his heroes, Robert Rooney and U.S West Coast legend Ed Ruscha, in a stimulating reading of urban and suburban iconography. Arkley also contributed a major new ten-canvas work to this show: Outside-Inside-Out (‘The Heide Installation’), a stylised suburban environment. In a strong critique of ‘Downtown’ in the Melbourne Age (1 April 1995), Robert Nelson charged Arkley with stereotyping suburbia, a view that infuriated Engberg (who wrote to Arkley expressing her disappointment with Nelson’s article).[1] Nelson later renewed his attack in a highly critical review of ‘Into and Out of Abstraction’, curated by John McPhee at the NGV (Dec.1995-Feb.1996), where Arkley’s work was again prominent (see installation photo above).[2]

Arkley’s solo ‘White + Black’ exhibition at Tolarno in September surveyed his monochrome work across two decades, contrasting new and recent works (including a replica of Primitive, the original thought at the time to have been lost) with earlier examples, including several large canvases not shown since the mid 1970s. Robyn McKenzie, reviewing the show in the Age (20 Sept.1995) expressed concern about Arkley’s recycling of earlier compositions in this show, neglecting the degree to which his work had always involved such strategies. The exhibition included a considerable number of new works on paper.

Arkley also continued to work with Peter Tyndall on the collaborative venture initiated the previous year, but the project was abandoned in September (see discussion under 1994).

1995 Exhibitions

‘Downtown’ (Arkley, Rooney, Ruscha), MOMA at Heide, March-May 1995

– refer linked entry for full details

‘Australian Art – Colonial to Contemporary’, Deutscher Fine Art, Melbourne, May-June 1995

  • Waterfall 2 1988 (cat. no.111, ill.in catalogue p.84: copy in Arkley’s files)

‘The Derwent Collection: Australian Art of the 1980s and 1990s’, Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery, Hobart, 30 June-August 1995 (catalogue: Hammond 1995)

‘Howard Arkley – White + Black: 20 Years Work on Paper and Canvas, 1975-1995’, Tolarno, Sept.1995

– refer linked entry for full details

12th Annual Spring Festival of Drawing, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, 12 Nov. 1995 – 7 Jan.1996 (exh.cat.: artists’ files)

‘Into and Out of Abstraction’ (cur.John McPhee), NGV, 5 Dec.1995-5 Feb.1996 (included works by Arkley, Gunter Christmann, Richard Larter & Dick Watkins; documents in Arkley files, including installation photos & reviews by Marsh 1996 & Nelson 1996); Arkley works listed below via details in Spray 148]

‘Australia Felix – Benalla Arts Festival’ [details via exhibition list in Spray 130]


[1] The letter is in Arkley’s 1995 files; a few days earlier, the Age published a much more sympathetic review of ‘Downtown’, by their main art critic at the time, Robyn McKenzie (29 March 1995).

[2] Nelson 1996 (Age review, 17 Jan.); Anne Marsh wrote a considerably more positive account of the NGV show, and Arkley’s contributions to it, in the Herald Sun (also 17 Jan.1996). It should be observed that Robert Nelson has made a successful career over the past decade and a half out of exactly this type of vigorous review, but such writing also earnt him the ire of Arkley and a number of his contemporaries during the 1990s. Nelson, usually consistent in his likes and dislikes, has generally maintained his distaste for Arkley: see in particular Nelson 2006 (reviewing the NGVA retrospective); but cf. Nelson 2001.