Suparoom 1992

Synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 173 x 135
signed, dated and titled
Private collection, Melbourne

‘We’re talking about a Vermeer!’, commented Arkley, with conscious irony, in interviews conducted for the ‘Mix’n Match’ catalogue (Gregory 1992), and here he achieved something vaguely reminiscent of Dutch interiors, with their intense accumulations of material objects and patterning. Of course one of the key differences (not to mention numerous other variations) is the absence of human figures, but this is clearly identified as an inhabited space (through the lighted fire, books, etc.).

The source is a lounge-room template from Gold’s Instant Decorator, faithfully reflected in the gauche perspective of the coffee table; but Arkley Australianized the room by substituting a kookaburra for a sub-van Gogh landscape in the U.S. decorator manual.


  • Purchased at Tolarno in 1992 for $7,000
  • Recorded in a Melbourne P/C (NGVA exh. files, 2006)


  • HA Tolarno 10/92 (‘Mix’n Match’), cat.4 (details as above)
  • Korea 1996 (‘Australia: Familiar and Strange’)
  • Bendigo Art Gallery etc., 3/98 and following (‘Furnish’), cat.1
  • HA retrospective 2006-7 (shown in Melbourne only)


  • Gregory 1992 (unpaginated; quoted above; and full-page ill.)
  • Spray 106 (ill.)