Photographs of Australian flywire screen doors (c.1978-80) [3/M]

Slides and photographs/negatives

Howard Arkley archive: State Library of Victoria, MS 14217/8/282-326

Strictly speaking, these photos constitute Arkley’s ‘source material’, but they played such a central role in the development of his door-format paintings that they almost assume the status of works in their own right – and, after all, he did take many of them himself (although Elizabeth Gower points out that she also took several: interview July 2010).

Jenepher Duncan (1991: 20) suggests that Arkley was already photographing flywire doors in 1977, but the chronology of his career is awry at this point in the Monash catalogue (events from 1977 and 1978 are jumbled together); this may also explain the dating of 1977 in Spray 26 (reproducing 4 examples), and also in ‘Downtown’ (1995).

A date of 1978-9 seems probable for most of them, e.g. the example reproduced here, where the home-made, slightly awkward construction correlates perfectly with the aesthetic of many of Arkley’s door paintings.

The artist’s archive contains photos of many other examples, including slides, some with process date Dec79.


  • artist’s collection
  • Arkley archive (to SLV 2011)


  • Heide 3/95 (‘Downtown’): a selection of examples, dated 1977ff.


  • Duncan 1991 (HA Monash, 20 (reproducing an example)
  • Spray 26 (reproducing 4 examples, dated to 1977)
  • Fitzpatrick & Lynn (2015), pp.12-13 and 118-19 (reproducing further examples)