Isotype 1979

Synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 253 x 157.6 (size as recorded by NGV)

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Michell Endowment, 1979 [DC32-1979]

In this painting, one of Arkley’s most sophisticated from this period, the geometric elements appear to float at different depths against the grey ground.

In the detailed statement he wrote when the work was sold to the NGV in 1979 (copy in Arkley’s archive), he noted his general ambition at the time to introduce elements of everyday patterning and popular culture into the language of abstraction; and added:

‘Some of the many devices I use which are incorporated in this painting… are re-occurring intervals, element rotation, overlapping change angles, multiple perspectives, isometrics, broken shape etc.’


  • purchased directly via Tolarno in 1979


  • HA Tolarno 5/79, cat.1 ($800)
  • NGV 12/95 (‘Into and Out of Abstraction’)
  • HA retrospective 2006-7 (all 3 venues; details as above)