Kalli Rolfe Contemporary Art

NGV Exhibition Text

The singular vision of Australian artist Howard Arkley (1951-1999) developed throughout a career spanning three decades. This retrospective represents comprehensively the evolution of Arkley's oeuvre from the early 1970s to the final major works with which he was represented at the Venice Biennale in 1999.

Howard Arkley is popularly conceived as the foremost painter of Australian suburbia. His signature houses and domestic interiors and fascination with vernacular, quotidian experience, however, were produced always in dialogue with his preoccupation with abstraction, patterning and the slide between two and three dimensions. Arkley's paintings, painted sculptures and installations collapsed distinctions between abstraction and representation, and questioned certain utopian aspirations - whether it is the suburban dreams of home ownership or the functional design of modernist furniture and architecture. Arkley's literally spectacular pictorial abstraction involves a slippage between ...