Happenstance (1987)

Synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 170 x 130

Private collection, Brisbane

This canvas was first exhibited at the Bellas Gallery, Brisbane, in June 1989, where its date was given as 1987. A studio photo in Arkley’s archive, dated June 1987, shows it in process in Arkley’s studio, with Suburban Window 1987 [aka Suburban Landscape] [Howard Arkley & Christine Johnson] (also in process).

The same box-on-legs composition was used for several other works on paper, including Crawling Nature (1986) [W/P] and Pittoresque 1988 [W/P].

An earlier entry in this catalogue suggested that the present painting also appeared in the Arkley show at Roslyn Oxley9 in September 1987; however, that has now been clarified to have been a different canvas: see Physiognomy 1987.


  • Recorded in Brisbane P/C in NGVA Arkley retrospective planning notes (2006)


  • HA Bellas 6/89, cat.3 (as 1200 x 1600 mm, 1987; priced at $5,500)
  • HA retrospective 2006-7: shown both in Melbourne (visible in installation photos, but not listed in the check-list) and Brisbane (as dating from 1986)