1984 Works


The planned exhibition of these works in 1985 did not eventuate.
This project involved documentation of Arkley and several of his friends wearing the stylized mask.
Work-on-paper mural, deploying cactoid and other 'doodled' imagery drawn from Arkley's imaginative stock.


The only source for this work, evidently a smaller variant of Primitive Gold 1982, is an undated file photo in Arkley’s archive.
Small-scale variant of
    Primitive [mural] (1981) [W/P]
and the two large 1982 canvases developed from it.

Works on Paper

First recorded at auction in 2000, together with Construction Sight 1984 [W/P]
Work shown in Arkley’s ‘Cacti & Succulents’ show, Roslyn Oxley9, May 1984.
First recorded at auction in 2000, with Cacti Day and Night 1984 [W/P].
Provisionally identified as the work shown in HA Roslyn Oxley9, 5/84.
Identified via the reproduction in Spray as the work shown at Roslyn Oxley9, 5/84 (cat.2).
Work on paper first shown at Roslyn Oxley9, Sydney, in 1984.
= Stapelia-Peduncle 1986 [W/P]
Provisional ID as the work shown under this title in HA Roslyn Oxley9, 5/84, and in a group show touring New Zealand later in 1984.
First exhibited at Roslyn Oxley9 in May 1984, and then in '6 Drawing' (Hobart 1985).
This work, based on Zappo 1983, evidently relates to a mural project Arkley was planning in the early 1980s.
Collaborative series commissioned for the George Paton Gallery in 1984, combining body parts in the manner of Surrealist visual games.
One of several works on paper given to Juan Davila by Arkley, for possible inclusion in Icon Interior (1994-2001) [3/M].
A variant on the various cactoid images Arkley produced between 1981 and 1984.
A work-on-paper variant of Arkley's Suicide (1983).
The image used here later served as the basis for Icon Head (1990) and the central canvas of Icon Interior (1994-2001) [3/M].
Based on a Byzantine source also used for Pittoresque 1984 [W/P] and several other works.
Comparable with Untitled [‘Aztec head’] 1984 [W/P] and Untitled [Head] 1985 [W/P].

Works on Paper Minor

Arkley's prolific production of works on paper in included numerous minor works such as a working drawing for a 'Fashion Show' he planned for 1984.

HA Monash 1991 cat.53

[Photo: Mills & Boon pages as shown in HA Monash 1991, cat.53: (clockwise from top left): The Unknown Heart 35 (?); First, the Doctor 9; The Chateau of Fire 89; Courage, My Heart 29 (?); Lad’s Love 9; Courage, My Heart 85 (photo via former Monash Visual Arts slide library)]

In contrast to the previous year (when Arkley produced more than 20 canvases), his focus shifted in 1984 to work on paper. During the year, his works featured in a number of significant national and international touring exhibitions, and he consolidated a new theme – cacti and succulents – at his second solo show at Roslyn Oxley9 in Sydney (May/June), largely comprising works on paper. At the time of the latter exhibition, according to the biography in the Monash survey exhibition catalogue (Duncan 1991: 24), Arkley was ‘physically exhausted due to his frenetic lifestyle’.

A notable feature of his work in 1984 (and succeeding years) was his use of a series of old romantic novels as sketchbooks. Arkley added a considerable number of drawings to ten 1950s-60s romantic novels published by Mills & Boon (de-accessioned by the Prahran CAE library). His drawings ranged from quick doodled cacti and abstract forms to more considered figurative drawings, including a number of life drawings. Some are signed and dated, mostly 1984 or 1985. Most are in black fibre-tipped pen, usually on odd-numbered pages only (owing to the fibre-tipped pen bleeding through onto reverse side of page). Several individual pages from these books were exhibited subsequently, but the majority remain, still in their books, in his studio collection (now in the Howard Arkley Archive, State Library of Victoria, MS 14217). For summaries and selected reproductions, see linked entry: Mills & Boon books

1984 Exhibitions

‘Form-Image-Sign: the Third Biennial Survey of Australian Contemporary Art,’ Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, 3 Feb.-18 March 1984 (curated by Tony Bond)

(NB sketchy details only in Arkley’s archive)

‘HA: Cacti and Succulents,’ Roslyn Oxley9, Sydney, May 1984

– refer linked entry for full details

‘3 Artists / 3 Rooms,’ Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Dallas Brooks Drive, Melbourne, 14 May – 2 June 1984 [HA, Juan Davila, David Larwill] (photos and copies of reviews/articles by Clarke 1984 and Cramer 1984 in Arkley’s files)

‘Meaning and Excellence’ ANZART exh.at Edinburgh Festival, 5 Aug.- {?} 1984 (curated by Denise Robinson; subsequently exhibited in Melbourne in 1985)

‘Symbols, Emblems, Signatures’, New Zealand touring exh., starting at Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, N.Z., 5-30 Sept.1984 (23 drawings by 11 Australian artists, cur.Jennifer Phipps; other artists included Dale Frank;  reviews in Arkley files)

‘The Australians: Three Generations of Drawings’  CDS Gallery, New York, 24 Sept.-20 Oct.1984 (drawings by 16 Australian artists, curated by Memory Holloway; exh.cat.: Holloway 1984; reviews on file, but no explicit mention of Arkley; however, the Age report by Cole-Adams 1984 notes him as 1 of the 4 artists whose work was purchased from the CDS show by Met.curator Bill Lieberman)

  • Untitled (1983) [W/P]: ill.and cat.in Holloway 1984 as W/P 1984 (22” x 30”), but NB CDS receipt for US $400 in Arkley’s files (dated April 19, 1985), correctly listing the work as Untitled, 1983, and giving the size as 60” x 44”

George Paton Gallery, 28 May-30 June 1984: collaborative installation by Arkley with Juan Davila and Maria Kozic: ‘Untitled’, 1984: exh.in foyer window space (co-commissioned by Denise Robinson and the student union, University of Melbourne, and curated by Denise Robinson; details & ill: Vivian 2008: 83)

‘A Melbourne Mood’ – Monash Uni. Gallery 1984 (1st shown in Canberra: see 1983 for details)