A Freeway Painting (Exit) 1994

Synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 182.5 x 365.6
signed, dated and titled [on reverse: ‘Howard Arkley / A Freeway Painting (exit) / Date 1995’]
Collection unknown

The success of this work – and its companion, A Freeway Painting (Over Pass) 1994, also first shown at Tolarno in November 1994 – is due in large part to Arkley’s ability to sustain the sweeping dark grey line, and areas of undifferentiated colour, on such an extensive scale. This achievement seems to be lost on a number of commentators on this work, whether critical (e.g. Nelson 1996) or apparently sympathetic (e.g. Spray 116, echoed by Preston 2002).

When this canvas was auctioned in September 2017, the catalogue entry clarified several previously uncertain details, including extended provenance information as listed below; the disparity between the year of completion and first exhibition (1994) and the inscribed year (1995) was also explained.


  • Listed in HA’s 1993-6 stock-book (for 1994) as still at Tolarno (priced at $20,000)
  • Also noted in Engberg 1995: 19 as courtesy Tolarno
  • Gould Galleries, Melbourne
  • Private collection, Melbourne, acquired from the above in 1996
  • Gould Galleries, Melbourne
  • Corporate Collection, acquired from the above in 2002
  • Auctioned by Deutscher & Hackett, Sydney, 20 Sept.2017, lot 12 (details and ill. as shown here; est.$450-550,000; sold for $470,000)


  • HA Tolarno 11/94 (‘Pointillist Suburb series’), cat.10
  • Heide 3/95 (‘Downtown’)
  • NGV 12/95 (‘Into and Out of Abstraction’)
  • Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, 12/98 (‘Cars and Culture’)
  • HA Gould, Melb., 8/01, cat.13 (ill.)
  • HA Gould, Sydney, 3/02, cat.9 (erroneously listing the date as 1995)


  • Engberg 1995 (‘Downtown’ exh.cat.), p.19 (ill.)
  • Nelson 1996, reviewing ‘Into and Out of Abstraction’
  • Spray 116 (inc.ill.)
  • Preston 2002: 201