1978 Works


Collaborative collaged work combining elements of both artists' taste for pattern and the everyday.
A series of photos serving as source material for Arkley's door-format canvases (1978-80).


Formerly in Chandler Coventry's personal collection; auctioned in 1995 and several times thereafter.
This canvas, first shown in 1979 as 'Futurist', is closely related to several other paintings dating from 1978-80.
Monochrome 'double door' format work, documented only through Arkley's archive slides.
Classic Arkley 'door' canvas referencing both suburban flywire doors and textile sources.
Monochrome Paisley-patterned 'double door' related to several other canvases dating from 1978-9.
Elegant door-format canvas formerly in Chandler Coventry's personal collection.
Both this double-door sized painting, and the related but smaller canvas Psychedelic 1979, appeared in Arkley's 1980 solo show at the Coventry Gallery.
This canvas marks a clear formal transition from Arkley's ‘white’ phase to his door-format works; the title plays on several art-historical associations.

Works on Paper

This work was produced in a sequence of three 'states', recorded in Arkley's archive slides.
Work on paper given to Armidale by the artist in 1981; study related to Psychedelic Painting (1978).
Interestingly transitional work on paper, donated to the New England collection by Arkley in 1981 ('White' W/P cat.no.258)
This late example of Arkley's 'white' works on paper points to recurrent themes and interests in the first phase of his career.
Apparently authentic early work, but sketchily documented ('White' W/P cat.no.108)

Works on Paper Minor

Visual Diaries D8 and D9 (both dated 1978) contain numerous sketches, and his archive also contains or documents various other minor works including several based on newspaper pages.

Visual Diary 8 (double page)

(photo: double page from Arkley’s Visual Diary no.8, dated Jan.1978, with compositional sketches for door paintings, including a taped-in sketch on newspaper relating to Psychedelic Painting (1978), and several smaller sketches relating to Curvilinear with Grid (1978) and other planned or completed door-format canvases [Arkley archive])

Late in January, Arkley and Gower returned to Australia. She began a new teaching job at Prahran CAE, and he launched into a series of new works based on his new interests in colour, pattern, and the door format (as foreshadowed in his photographs and notes from the trip overseas: see 1977).

Immediately after returning to Melbourne (according to Spray, 26ff., sourced directly from the artist 1995-6; see also Duncan 1991: 21-2, and several more recent accounts), Arkley was struck by the parallels between the intricacies of European decorative iron-work and the local equivalent, especially the suburban screen door, and promptly embarked on his new series of door-format paintings.

In fact, Arkley had already begun to develop many of the compositional ideas for his doors during the preceding year or two, as witnessed by D6 and D7 in the sequence of his Visual Diaries, dated May 1976 and Jan.1977 respectively, both of which contain numerous door-shaped compositional sketches, prefiguring many of his completed paintings dating from 1978-80. Conversely, the diaries do indicate that Arkley’s earlier interest in such themes gained new momentum and focus after his return from Europe and the USA. Crucial here is D8 in the series, labelled on the cover ‘after return from NYC and Paris etc. Jan.1978’, containing further sketches for pattern paintings and door shaped works, including several drawings relating directly to paintings produced in 1978 (see illustration above).

1978 Exhibition

‘The Map Show’, George Paton Gallery, University of Melbourne, 16 May-2 June 1978 (works by 36 contributors: see now Vivian 2008: 74, listing the other contributors, who included Mike Brown, Aleks Danko and Domenico de Clario)