1992 Works


A widely-published example of Arkley’s mature use of clashing hues and vivid patterning, including extensive stencilling.
This is a variation on Transformer Head (1990).
This characteristic work from the ‘Mix’n Match’ show sets up a pictorial debate between the extensive areas of flat patterning, and cues for depth and illusionism.
Unidentified. There appear to be no photographs of this work.
Here, suburbia becomes ‘an exuberant but schizophrenic site for warring formal and decorative tendencies’.
An excellent example of the way in which Arkley ‘subverts realist notions of light and perspective’ in the ‘Mix’n Match’ series, exploring formal effects of ‘positive and negative lighting’ (Spray 107)
This painting was shown first in ‘Mix’n Match’ (1992), and then at the Bellas Gallery in Brisbane, May 1993 (as ‘Room Rite’).
This painting, based on a comic-book source in Arkley's studio collection, does not appear to have been exhibited until 2002.
The main sources are identified in Spray as images of Gerrit Rietveld’s Schröder House (1924) and related De Stijl furniture.
Here Arkley achieved something vaguely reminiscent of Dutch interiors, with their intense accumulations of material objects and patterning.
This work, shown in both ‘Mix’n Match’ (1992) and ‘Downtown’ (1995), re-surfaced in 2005.
This ‘signature’ interior was first exhibited in ‘Mix’n Match’ in 1992, and has been shown widely since.

Works on Paper

This is the major work-on-paper outcome of the collaboration between Arkley and Davila in the late 1980s/1990s.
A key preparatory work for Arkley and Davila's screenprint on the same theme.
Collaborative work on paper related to Blue Chip Instant Decorator: a Room (1991-2) [3/M]

Works on Paper Minor

No examples noted (but see Visual Diaries D 33 & 34).


(photo: cover of the artist’s copy of Gold’s 1976 home furnishing manual [Arkley archive])

1992 saw the deaths of two figures central to the development of Arkley’s career: his early champion Paul Taylor (aged only 35),[1] and Tolarno director Georges Mora, with whom Arkley had exhibited ever since 1974, and who had become a kind of father figure for him.[2] Mora’s assistant Jan Minchin, formerly a curator of Australian art at the NGV, took over at Tolarno and is still in charge there.

During the year, Arkley and Juan Davila did additional work on Blue Chip Instant Decorator: a Room (1991-2) [3/M], replacing the original rugs with stylized ‘rugs’, in the form of low wooden plinths: the work was shown in its revised form in the Melbourne Art Fair in October. For a good photograph of the work in this finalized state, see Spray 102-3.

Arkley spent much of the year working in his garage studio in suburban Oakleigh on the canvases for his ‘Mix’n Match’ exhibition at Tolarno in Oct./Nov. This was his first full show of suburban interiors, most of them elaborately detailed, and now including extensive use of patterning produced via stencils (a new development influenced by Alison Burton); for discussion of these works, including extensive quotes from interviews made with the artist at the time, see the Tolarno exhibition catalogue (Gregory 1992). Among various sources used by the artist to develop these images, a 1970s US home decorator manual, already referenced in the title and compositions of Blue Chip, loomed large: for details, see linked entry Gold’s Instant Decorator.

1992 Exhibitions

Melbourne Art Fair ACAF#3, 1-4 Oct.1992

Paul Taylor Memorial exhibition, ACCA, Melbourne, 30 Oct.-8 Nov.1992 

‘Howard Arkley: Mix’n Match’, Tolarno, 31 Oct.-21 Nov.1992

– refer linked entry for full details

[1] Arkley’s 1992 files contain a clipping of the Melbourne Age’s obituary for Paul Taylor; see also Taylor 1995, a posthumous collection of his influential articles and interviews, including an informative introduction by Allan Schwartzman, and a complete bibliography of Taylor’s writings. There are also various references to Taylor’s involvement with Arkley’s work in Carnival (refer Index).

[2] See now the obituary by Daniel Thomas in Art + Text 93, Sept.1992, reprinted in Christie’s Melb. 24 Nov.1992 auction catalogue (‘The Estate of Georges Mora’)