‘Howard Arkley: Fabricated Rooms 1997 and Sampling 1998’, Tolarno, Nov.-Dec.1998

‘Howard Arkley: Fabricated Rooms 1997 and Sampling 1998’, Tolarno Galleries, 121 Victoria Street, Fitzroy, 28 Nov.-24 Dec.1998

Returning to the strategies of Arkley’s late 1970s door-format shows, this exhibition transformed Tolarno into the combination of (i) a virtual display home (Fabricated Rooms, shown in the front gallery, still in its 1997 form as shown at the Art Gallery of New South Wales: for installation photo, see 1997), and (ii) the simulacrum of a home furnishings show-room (‘Sampling’).

As his visual diaries show, Arkley had harboured the ambition to create such a show for many years, and carried it out here through reference to commercial displays, fabric shops, etc.[1]

Some of the ‘consoles’ displaying a selection of patterns were provided with ‘spare’ canvases, to enable purchasers to make their own changing display. Some pieces ‘sampled’ his own earlier patterns, including graffiti-like black sprayed line-work recalling his early 1980s style. Other works played on the optical principle of ‘Moiré’ patterning first explored in the ‘Pointillist Suburb’ series in 1994.[2]

A detailed check-list and good installation photos exist.

(photo: installation shot of ‘Sampling’, showing, on the floor, from left, nos.13, 7 and 8; and on the walls, from left, nos.3-6, 16, 14, 17-18 and 9-12  [Arkley archive])

1.       Fabricated Rooms = original version of Fabricated Rooms (1997-99) (Corbett Lyon & Yueji Lyon Collection of Contemporary Australian Art, Melbourne): see comments under 1997 above

2.       Riteroom (1998) (now Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide)

3.       Sampler: Formal (1998)

4.       Sampler: Contemporary (1998)

5.       Sampler: Modern (1998)

6.       Sampler: Traditional (1998)

7.       Showpiece (1998) [3/M]

8.       Swatch Trestle (1998) [3/M] (Corbett Lyon & Yueji Lyon Collection of Contemporary Australian Art, Melbourne)

9.       Matrix Console (1998) [3/M]

10.     Filagree Console (1998) [3/M]

11.      Lattice Console (1998) [3/M]

12.      Curlicue Console (1998?) [3/M] (Coll.John  Buckley, Melbourne)

13.      Vermiculate Veneer (1998) [3/M]

14.      Embossed Bracket (1998) [3/M] (Buxton Collection, Melbourne)

15.      Ormulu Bracket (1998) [3/M] (Buxton Collection, Melbourne)

16.      Brick Bracket 1998 [3/M]

17.      Scalloped Bracket 1998 [3/M]

18.      Lacquered Bracket (1998) [3/M] (Buxton Collection, Melbourne)

19.      Laminated Bracket 1998 [3/M]

[1] For detailed analyses, see Spray (rev.ed., 2001), 133-39, and Carnival 78-79; for further comments on Fabricated Rooms, see main entry (1997) and also 1999 (for the Venice installation).

[2] For ‘the Moiré effect’, see Carnival 73ff.