Psychedelic 1979

Synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 203.6 x 78.6
Signed, dated & titled
[on verso]
Private collection

This red/blue/yellow canvas was prominent in Arkley’s two solo ‘door’ shows (1979, 1980). In the second of these exhibitions, at the Coventry Gallery, it appeared together with the larger ‘double door’ canvas Psychedelic Painting 1978.

In Spray, and previously in the present catalogue, it was dated to 1978 (archive slides, apparently showing the completed work, are dated Oct78). However, during the hanging of the TarraWarra Arkley survey exhibition in 2015, the inscribed date of 1979 was discovered (unfortunately too late for inclusion in the TarraWarra catalogue). The inscription also identifies the first owner of the work (who chooses to remain anonymous).

The painting is described in Spray as influenced by the Paisley patterns Arkley saw overseas in 1977, particularly ‘the arabesque light sculptures witnessed at the Nice festival’ (for a reproduction of one of Arkley’s photos taken at this event, see Carnival Fig.6.2).

A number of related compositional sketches appear in Arkley’s visual diary begun in Jan.1978 (see general comments above for 1978, including a reproduction of a typical double page), and he also produced several similar works on paper at the time: see e.g. Psychedelic Painting [study] 1978 [W/P] and Paper Construction (1978) [W/P].


  • The artist
  • Given to its first owner (by exchange?), as indicated by additional verso inscription by Arkley: “For {name suppressed} 83 {85?}” (the final digit is ambiguous)
  • with Kalli Rolfe Contemporary Art, 2016
  • private collection (acquired from the above, Aug.2016)


  • HA Tolarno 5/79, cat.2
  • HA Coventry 3/80, cat.14
  • HA Quentin 2/85, cat.3
  • HA TarraWarra 12/15-2/16 (as dating from 1978: see comments in text above)
  • Kalli Rolfe Contemporary Art at ‘Spring 1883’, Windsor Hotel, Melbourne, 17-21 Aug.2016 (details as shown here; $65,000; sold)


  • Spray 29 (ill.) and 31, as quoted in comments above