1987 Works


While many of the house photos Arkley used for reference were collected from real estate agents, these examples appear to be original photographs taken by the artist.
One of 30 works made in response to various sites at Ormond College, commissioned by Tony Clark, while artist-in-residence there in 1987.


As the title indicates, this painting reworks an Albrecht Dürer woodcut depicting the theory and practice of perspective (1525).
This characteristic canvas, first shown in Arkley’s solo show at Roslyn Oxley9, Sydney, in Sept.1987, depicts a ‘Californian Bungalow’ of the type found in many Melbourne suburbs.
This variant of Tudor House 1987 was shown at Roslyn Oxley9 in September 1987.
First shown in Arkley’s solo show at the Anima Gallery, Adelaide, in October 1987.
This canvas, shown in 1987 at both Roslyn Oxley9 and the Anima Gallery, Adelaide, is a close variant of Felony (1983).
A studio photo in Arkley’s archive, dated June 1987, shows this work still in process, along with Suburban Window 1987.
Acquired from Tolarno in 1987, this canvas was first shown in HA Monash 1991.
This painting, first exhibited in Arkley’s solo show at the Roslyn Oxley9 gallery in Sydney, Sept.1987, is the earliest version of this composition.
This painting is inscribed with the title Physiognomy, although it has also been exhibited and reproduced under other names.
First shown in 1987 at both the Roslyn Oxley9 and Anima galleries.
The work reproduced here was first shown at the Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery (Sydney) in September 1987; Arkley derived the title from a song made famous by Billie Holiday.
This collaborative canvas is a variant of Suburban Window 1987, also by Howard Arkley and Christine Johnson.
This painting, first shown in Arkley's solo exhibition at Roslyn Oxley9 in 1987, has since been identified as the result of a collaboration between him and his then partner Christine Johnson.
Arkley's 'signature' suburban composition, later developed on a larger scale in Family Home: Suburban Exterior (1993).
Work acquired from Tolarno in 1987 and exhibited at Monash in 1991.
This work, the most monumental version of this composition Arkley made, later formed the basis for Zappo Head on Republic Tower (1999) [3/M].
First shown at Arkley’s solo shows in Sydney and Adelaide in 1987.

Works on Paper

This is a working drawing for Arkley’s 1987 canvas of the same name.
This work, auctioned in 2000 (noting a Tolarno provenance), is clearly comparable with other cactoid compositions dating from around 1987.
Exhibited at the Bellas Gallery, Brisbane, June 1987; variant of the canvas version Modern Agriculture 1987.
First shown at Monash in 1991, together with preparatory studies (several reproduced in Spray).
Cactoid head related to the works on paper shown at the Bellas Gallery in June 1987.
Provisional ID via untitled archive slide, evidently taken at the 1987 Bellas exhibition.
This work was exhibited at the Bellas Gallery in 1986.
= Zappo Head (1985?) [W/P]
A "private" work on paper given to the owner in 1987
This particular example, clearly related to Arkley’s other ‘Tudor’ compositions, may be the work on paper shown in Hamilton in 1988 as ‘House’.

Works on Paper Minor

Besides other sketches and working drawings, Arkley's earliest known coloured photocopies date from this period.

Oxley9 9_87 (1)#6CB8

(photo: the artist at the opening of his Roslyn Oxley9 exhibition, 2 Sept.1987 [archive photo])

Arkley staged two solo painting exhibitions, showed several new work-on-paper cacti in Brisbane, and was prominent in a number of significant local group exhibitions during the year. The solo show at Roslyn Oxley9 in September was his first in which the suburban theme – such a key factor in his subsequent career – was clearly to the fore. The Anima Gallery exhibition in Adelaide mostly comprised canvases already shown previously.

In the ‘Ten by Ten’ group show at 200 Gertrude Street, painter Lesley Dumbrell selected Arkley among ten of her peers (also including Elizabeth Gower, John Nixon, Peter Tyndall and Jenny Watson) whose work had been significant ten years earlier, comparing their recent works to guage their development. In some cases, continuity was apparent, but with Arkley (as with Jenny Watson), the change was dramatic.

Juliana Engberg published a major profile in the Autumn issue of Art & Australia (‘Indigenous, indelible Arkley’), providing an insightful survey of his career and critical fortune to date. She stressed the innovative nature of his visual language, and the significance of his suburban subject, predicting that this would soon dominate his work. Other significant publications – see bibliography – included a substantial review of Arkley’s Roslyn Oxley9 show by John McDonald (for further comments, seer exhibition entry).

In April, Arkley married artist Christine Johnson, whom he had met in 1986 (see Preston 2002: 144ff.). He exhibited alongside her in the group show at Ormond College (Nov.-Dec.), and also worked with her on at least two collaborative works (not acknowledged as such until after Arkley’s death): Suburban Window 1987 [aka Suburban Landscape] [Howard Arkley & Christine Johnson] (shown at the Roslyn Oxley9 show in September), and Suburban Landscape 1987 (refer catalogue entries for further details). Other planned collaborative works apparently failed to eventuate (see Carnival 147 for further discussion).


1987 Exhibitions

‘Australian Art 1960-1980: Field to Figuration: works from the National Gallery of Victoria’, NGV, 21 Feb.– 29 March 1987 [for catalogue, see Lindsay 1986]

‘Young Australians’ (Budget Collection) NGV etc. [catalogue ed.Robert Lindsay: in HA files]

‘Selected Contemporary Drawings’ Heide, Oct.1987 [cat.in Arkley files]

‘Ten by Ten 1975-1985’ 200 Gertrude St., 20 Nov.-12 Dec.1987 [cat.in Arkley files]

Works on paper group show: Howard Arkley, Elizabeth Gower, Tim Johnson, Scott Redford, Bellas Gallery, Brisbane, June 1987 [copies of check-list and reviews (see Petelin 1987 and Woolcock 1987) in Arkley’s  files; each work priced at $1300]:

‘Howard Arkley: Suburban Urban Messages’, Roslyn Oxley 9, Sydney, Sept.1987

– refer linked entry for full details

‘Works by Howard Arkley’, Anima Gallery, Adelaide, Oct.- Nov.1987

– refer linked entry for full details

‘Ormond College Welcomes New Art’, Melb.U., 22 Nov.-6 Dec.1987 (cur.Tony Clark; catalogue: Clark 1987; copy in Arkley’s archive)

‘What is This Thing Called Science’, University Gallery, University of Melbourne, 11 November – 18 Dec.1987 (catalogue: Cass 1987)