Howard Arkley

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BORN 1951 Melbourne Australia.

DIED July 23 1999 Melbourne Australia.

He discovered art when he was 15 years old, seeing an exhibition of the works of Sidney Nolan. He was first exhibited when he was 24 at Tolarno Galleries,Melbourne.

Howard Arkley was a remarkable Melbourne born artist who believed that the rural and suburbian culture of Australia influenced its art and was known for his air brushed paintings of houses, architecture and suburbia.

Howard Arkley is popularly conceived as the foremost painter of Australian suburbia. His signature houses and domestic interiors and fascination with the everyday, however, were always produced in dialogue with other concerns such as 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 was the suburban dreams of home ownership or the functional design of modernist furniture and architecture.

Using a range of techniques from the commercial airbrush to conventional artists’ tools, Arkley’s work attracted and balanced critical and commercial success, professional and popular appeal. He was particularly influential on his peers and on a younger generation of artists with whom he interacted as a teacher and mentor.

For almost thirty years Howard Arkley produced some of the most idiosyncratic and iconoclastic art in Australia.