Primitive Silver 1982

Synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 210 x 210

signed, dated and titled [on reverse]

Coll.: unknown

See comments on this painting’s twin, Primitive Gold 1982. In this work, Arkley repeated several images first used in Primitive [mural] (1981) [W/P], including the large headless figure and telephone, centre right here (compare the lower centre of the original work – for a reproduction of the relevant sheet, see general comments above for 1981), and the penis at lower right (for the 1981 image, see Carnival, Fig.6.10).

This painting received significant international exposure through its reproduction in Paul Taylor’s ‘Popism’ article in the May 1983 issue of Flash Art.


  • Coll.John Buckley, Melbourne
  • auctioned by Mossgreen, Melb., 13 May 2014 [John Buckley Collection auction], lot 18: ill., details as above (also noting Roslyn Oxley9 label on verso); est.$80-120,000; sold for $73,200


  • NGV 1982 (‘Popism’)
  • HA Roslyn Oxley9, 6/83, cat.11
  • HA Monash 1991, cat.40
  • HA retrospective 2006-7 (shown in Melbourne only)


  • Taylor, Flash Art 1983, p.50 (ill.)
  • Spray 49-50, inc.ill., as Primitive (Silver)