‘Howard Arkley: Home Show’, Karyn Lovegrove Gallery, Los Angeles, Jul.-Aug.1999

‘Howard Arkley: Home Show’, Karyn Lovegrove Gallery, 6150 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, USA, 9 July-14 Aug.1999

The only commercial show of Arkley’s work to be staged overseas, this exhibition was a sell-out. All eight paintings reprised existing Arkley compositions, but with noticeable refinements, and a new intensity and yet subtlety of colour, based on a range of new hues with which the artist had been experimenting.

The glowing colour and formal clarity of these canvases point more clearly than any of his other late works to the direction his style may have taken in the future. Unfortunately, none of these works was included in the 2006-7 Arkley retrospective, and few have been seen in Australia since his death – which occurred just over a week after this show opened.

U.S. viewers enjoyed the exhibition, and influential critic Dave Hickey later listed it among his ten ‘Best of the ‘90s’ shows, in the Dec.1999 issue of Artforum, adding a moving tribute to Arkley.[1] The show also appears to have met with commercial success, although it’s unclear exactly how some of the paintings now in Australian collections actually ended up here. Two of the paintings are now known under different titles from those given to them in Los Angeles: see below under Deluxe Space and House with Gate.

An installation photo later appeared (uncredited) in Vogue Italia.[2] Works are listed below in the sequence in the exhibition check-list, and with the titles under which they were shown in Los Angeles (all were priced at US$13,000, and sized at 70” x 54” = 175 x 135 cm).

Works shown:

Terrace Window (1999)

Illuminated Space (1999)

Home with Eucalyptus (1999) [Lovegrove]

Still Life Tulips (1999)

Urban Apartments (1999)

Freeway Exit (1999) (Buxton Collection, Melbourne)

Deluxe Space = Supa Interior (1999) (Buxton Collection, Melbourne)

House with Gate = Residence with Gate 1999

(photos: Arkley standing in front of Home with Eucalyptus; and Arkley and Callum Morton hanging Freeway Exit [both Arkley archive; photographer unknown])

[1] See biblio. for 1999 under Hickey, Muchnic and Pagel

[2] Oct.1999, p.228