Bodgie 1979

Alternate titles: Bodgie no.2Bodgie-Widgie and Deco
Synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 203.6 x 78.6

signed, dated and titled [on reverse, in black fibre-tipped pen: ‘Howard Arkley / Bodgie / 1979’]
Estate of Etta and Emmanuel Hirsh

This characteristic Arkley ‘door’ was first exhibited at Tolarno in May 1979 as ‘Deco’, then in Arkley’s Coventry 1980 show as ‘Bodgie-Widgie’, and later as ‘Bodgie’ (the inscribed title). The painting was widely exhibited during the 1980s and early 1990s, when it was in the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Brisbane (then auctioned in June 1991). In the Arkley survey exhibition held at Monash later in 1991, the work was catalogued as ‘Bodgie no.2’ (while noting ‘Bodgie’ as the inscribed title), raising the possibility that Arkley produced more than one version.

The titles ‘Bodgie’ and ‘Bodgie-Widgie’ play on the names of 1950s youth sub-cultures in Australia, while (possibly) also evoking Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie-Woogie (MOMA, New York, 1942-3), with its comparable blend of abstract geometry and pop culture associations – a significant precursor of Arkley’s own project during the late 1970s (see Carnival 53ff.).

For further discussion of this painting in relation to pattern, see Carnival 55.


  • Brisbane, MCA Collection
  • auctioned by Sotheby’s, Melb., 16 June 1991, lot 88 (as Bodgie; est.$2-3,000; sold for $1,980 inc.buyer’s premium)
  • recorded in P/C Melb. later in 1991 (Monash


  • HA Tolarno 5/79, cat.13 (as Deco)
  • HA Coventry, 3/80, cat.5 (as Bodgie-Widgie)
  • HA Quentin, Perth, 2/85, cat.1 (as Bodgie)
  • Roslyn Oxley9, Sydney, 1/88 (‘1968-1988 Selected Works’): as Bodgie (MCA coll.)
  • George Paton Gallery, Univ.of Melb., 8/88 (‘Suburbanism’): as Bodgie (MCA coll.)
  • Queensland Art Gallery 1990 (‘Art of the 1970s’: as Bodgie)
  • HA Monash 1991, cat.17 (as Bodgie no.2, but noting inscribed title of Bodgie; described as in a private collection)
  • HA TarraWarra 12/15-2/16


  • Engberg, ‘Suburbanism’ 1988, 3-4 (B&W ill.: as Bodgie)
  • Spray 28 (ill.: as Bodgie Widgie)
  • Carnival 55 and Fig.2.3