1975 Works


This reduced scale replica of Gerrit Rietveld’s classic red-blue chair (1918) was probably made in the mid 1970s.


'White' canvas first shown in Arkley's first solo show in 1975.
Work shown in Arkley's first solo show, possibly identical with Winter Notations 1975.
Minimal canvas originally shown in Arkley's first solo show at Tolarno in 1975.
A classic ‘white painting’, exhibited in Arkley’s first solo show at Tolarno in April 1975.
Unidentified painting first shown in Arkley's second Tolarno exhibition in 1976.
Characteristic 'white' painting from Arkley's first solo show at Tolarno (April-May 1975).
Elegant 'white' canvas acquired for the National Australia Bank  Collection in 1975.
Canvas first shown in Arkley's first solo show (1975).
White canvas auctioned in 1995; possibly included in Arkley's first solo show in 1975.
An elegant early work still in the artist's collection at his death.
Possibly identical with Recording (Scientific Knowledge) (1975).
Another 'white' work whose history is not certain.
'White' canvas in the artist's own collection at his death; shown in the 2006-7 retrospective as Untitled, c.1976.

Works on Paper

Work on paper auctioned in April 1999; probably first shown at Tolarno in 1995 ('White' W/P cat.no.107) .
See also Leaves of the Leaf 1975 [W/P].
This work may have been exhibited in Arkley's 'White + Black' show at Tolarno in 1995.
Unidentified early work on paper shown in Arkley's 'White + Black' exhibition at Tolarno in 1995 ('White' W/P cat.no.App.5)
Possibly identical with Oriental (wave study) (1975) [W/P] ('White' W/P cat.no.95)
'Actuality' study in horizontal format ('White' W/P cat.no.96)
The original title and provenance of this typical early work on paper were clarified recently ('White' W/P cat.no.119)
One of two large-scale early works on paper included in Arkley's 'White + Black' show at Tolarno in 1995.
An elaborate, well preserved early work on paper, first shown in Ballarat in 1975 ('White' W/P cat.no.252)
Early work known only from a slide in the artist's archive ('White' W/P cat.no.194)
One of the early works on paper shown in the 1991 Arkley survey at Monash ('White' W/P cat.no.132)
An early example of Arkley's experimentation with coloured sprayed line ('White' W/P cat.no.139)
Two fields with a grid pattern and a series of black circles ('White' W/P cat.no.274)
Wave forms and sprayed verticals in two fields ('White' W/P cat.no.269)
Sprayed horizontal with red circles ('White' W/P cat.no.213)
Lightly-sprayed variant of Winter Notations 1975 [W/P] ('White' W/P cat.no.253)
Two fields with grid patterning and circles ('White' W/P cat.no.275)
Two-part work close to 'White' W/P nos.268-69 ('White' W/P cat.no.270)

Works on Paper Minor

While there are no individual minor works on paper specifically dateable to 1975, his Sketchbooks and Visual Diaries contain abundant material of this type.
Visual Diary no.2 (double page)

(photo: double page from Visual Diary D 2, dated May 1975, including sketches for ‘Wave Study’ compositions [Arkley archive])

Arkley’s career now began to gather significant momentum. His first solo show, held at Tolarno in April, impressed the critics; Maureen Gilchrist, for instance, in her review in the Melbourne Age, admired the way these ‘quiet, reductive paintings’ worked effectively as a series.

In June, Bernard Boles wrote a particularly incisive account of Arkley’s developing style in the Nation Review, describing his ‘Second Tracing’ – identified here as Oriental (Wave Study) 1974 – as the ‘clear winner’ of the Inez Hutchinson Prize (the identification is also supported by Alan McCulloch who, in the Melbourne Herald, described the work as ‘an arrangement of floating bamboo shapes,… gathered at the waist, so to speak’). For Boles, Arkley’s work was based on a lucid process of cleaning the mind of ideas; then, ‘he builds up from this void with a heightened awareness of every element he employs on the canvas’. These insightful comments, evidently based on detailed conversation with the artist, constitute the earliest sustained analysis of several key ideas motivating the work of his early maturity.

Significant insights into Arkley’s developing aesthetic are also provided by his Visual Diaries, the earliest of which, all in the form of school exercise books, date from 1975 (for details, see nos.1-4 in the sequence as listed in the linked entry). They brim with notes, sketches and ideas, including quotes from Paul Klee and other early heroes, and detailed notes on colour based on Johannes Itten (made while Arkley’s exhibited work was still strictly monochrome: for detailed discussion, see now Carnival 100ff., and also 111ff., for Arkley’s diaries).

Arkley also continued to produce numerous smaller works on paper during 1975, experimenting with the contrast between his air-brushed line and drawn or solid forms (see general remarks on early works on paper, under 1974).

1975 Exhibitions

‘Howard Arkley’, Tolarno Galleries, St Kilda, April-May 1975

– refer linked entry for full details

Minnie Crouch Prize exh., Ballarat Fine Arts Gallery, July-Sept.1975 [works on paper; check-list in Arkey’s archive; thanks to Anne Rowland, Ballarat Gallery Registrar, for information, Oct.-Nov.2008]

Inez Hutchinson Prize, Clive Parry Galleries, Beaumaris, c.June 1975 (winner: see reviews by Boles and McCulloch)

Portland Acquisitive Prize 1975: Arkley is recorded as the winner in Duncan 1991: 32 and Spray 130; see also McCulloch 1984, vol.2, p.966, and McCulloch 2006, p.1179, s.v.’Prizes – Portland Art Society Art Prize’. Unfortunately, none of these sources indicate exactly what Arkley entered for this prize; however, his files do indicate that he submitted a painting called Seltsamer for the same prize in 1974 – identified here as Seltsamer (1974).

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