1990 Works


This was the opening work in Arkley’s 1990 ‘Head Show’.
Close in scale and character to Arkley’s larger ‘shadow factories’ of 1989-90, this painting was first exhibited in the 1995 ‘Downtown’ show at Heide.
Arkley’s file photos, including one showing both this work and Shadow Factories 1990 [Spray] in process, clearly indicate a date of 1990.
This painting, based on a dot-matrix printed image, was exhibited in the 1990 ‘Head Show’ at Tolarno.
This tour-de-force of reverberant colour and intricately sprayed line-work was first exhibited in Arkley’s 1990 ‘Head Show’.
First shown in the 1990 ‘Head Show’, this work was included in the 2006-7 NGV retrospective, and has appeared at auction several times since the artist’s death.
A key example of the ‘mask’ idea underlying Arkley’s ‘Head Show’.
Cat.no.5 in the ‘Head Show’ (1990), and documented by slides in Arkley’s archive (not reproduced elsewhere).
This vivid painting has come to be seen as a self-portrait, although originally it was simply one of the more dramatic ‘masks’ in Arkley's 1990 ‘Head Show’.
This work, reproduced in Spray, was included in the 1991 Arkley survey at Monash University.
One of several factory canvases inspired by Peter Carey’s short story of the same name.
Like Arkley’s generic ‘Zappo Head’, this face confronts humanity with its own strangeness.
This painting has not been seen publicly since it was shown in the 1990 ‘Head Show’.

Works on Paper

This excellent example of Arkley’s ‘private’ style was made for his sister-in-law on the occasion of her birthday in 1990.
Collaborative work on paper related to Blue Chip Instant Decorator: a Room (1991-2) [3/M]

Works on Paper Minor

No specific examples dating from 1990 are known (but see S 22 in the series of Sketchbooks, and Visual Diaries D 26-31).

HA painting heads 1990The January edition of Tension magazine (#19) featured a detailed account of Australian art during the 1980s, including several comments on Arkley and reproductions of his work (see now Crawford 1990, pp.14, 29, 57 and 67). His Suburban Interior (1983) appeared in a survey of 1980s Australian painting staged as part of the Adelaide Festival in Feb.-March (for details, see under 1990 exhibitions).

Much of Arkley’s energy during the year was devoted to producing the works for the ‘Head Show’ held at Tolarno in October/November (although this was the culmination of many years of planning). Photos documenting Arkley at work for this show were taken by Alison Burton, now working as his main studio assistant (example above shows the artist with Icon Head and Plastic Portrait in process, 1990 [Arkley archive]).

Meanwhile, he pursued his exploration of the factory theme, with two further large canvases. He also extended this urban interest with two ‘cityscape’ canvases, which may be considered in connection with a large-scale mural project Arkley contemplated during the 1980s: see now Zappo (Cityscape mural) 1984 [W/P] (also mentioning other related studies: see now Carnival 107 and Fig.3.20).

1990 Exhibitions

‘The Complex Picture: Australian Painting in the 1980s’ (cur.Timothy Morrell), Underdale, Adelaide, S.A. CAE Gallery, 22 Feb.-18 March 1990 (Adelaide Festival 1990) [exh.brochure in artist’s files; also inc. works by Davila, Tillers, Tyndall etc.; review: Bolton 1990]:

‘Greenpeace Artists’ Benefit: the Greenpeace Fund-raising Exhibition’, Linden Gallery, St Kilda, 17-29 July 1990 [organising committee: Ruth Bain, Ashley Crawford, Max Delany, Ray Edgar, Patrick Hoppe & Michael Wardell; inc.c.120 works; brochure in artist’s files; for reviews/reports, see Lew 1990, Trioli 1990]:

‘100 Artists Against Animal Experimentation’, Fitzroy, Deutscher Brunswick Street, Aug.-1 Sept.1990 [NB have only scanty details for this, including newspaper review by Hill 1990, and Bonhams 4/08 auction entry for the 1988 head listed below]:


‘Howard Arkley – The Head Show’, Tolarno, Oct.-Nov.1990

– refer linked entry for full details


‘New Acquisitions’ – Department of Prints and Drawings, National Gallery of Victoria, 25 Oct.1990 – 19 Feb.1991 [cur.Irena Zdanowicz; NGV check-list in Arkley’s files]:

‘Art of the 1970s’, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 1990 [details via Duncan 1991: 32]: