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date: 16 October 2019

Arkley, Howardlocked

(b Melbourne, May 5, 1951; d Melbourne, July 22, 1999).
  • Marco Livingstone

Extract

(b Melbourne, May 5, 1951; d Melbourne, July 22, 1999).

Australian painter. While studying painting at Prahran College, Melbourne, from 1969 to 1971, he discovered airbrushes, technical tools employed by commercial artists which he adopted with alacrity as his favoured instrument for picture-making. At art school Arkley met the collage artist and painter Elizabeth Gower, who had a significant influence over his work. They married in 1973, later separating in 1980. In 1977 he travelled to Paris and New York on residencies, and it was during this time that he became fascinated by architectural motifs as inspirations for painting. In Paris he assiduously photographed Art Nouveau and Art Deco doorways in black and white, intending to use these images as reference points for paintings on his return to Australia. Once back there, however, he decided that he needed to find imagery and subject-matter relevant to his own identity as an Australian. While ringing the doorbell of his mother’s house in suburban Melbourne, he noticed the flywire screen door and realized at once that this indigenous architectural feature, banal and disregarded, would be a much more suitable subject than the artistic doorways of Paris. Following this revelation, he made a succession of identically sized paintings in an elongated vertical format corresponding to these flywire screens, but betraying an astonishing variety of motifs and colour schemes. ...

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