Howard ARKLEY, House and garden, Western suburbs, Melbourne Enlarge 1 /1


Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 1951 – 1999

  • Europe, United States of America 1976-77

House and garden, Western suburbs, Melbourne 1988 Place made: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Materials & Technique: paintings, synthetic polymer paint on canvas

Primary Insc: signed and dated reverse support l.l., fibre tipped pen "Howard Arkley 88"
Dimensions: 174.7 h x 400.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1988
Accession No: NGA 88.646.A-B
Image rights: © The Estate of Howard Arkley

Howard Arkley developed a dynamic style, exploring colour, line, shape and pattern in our urban environment. He created images of suburban life in much the same way as an earlier generation explored the rural and outback landscape. To younger artists this was an obvious place to start, as almost 90 per cent of Australians live in the suburbs. This large airbrushed image was painted in 1988 and titled House and garden, Western suburbs, Melbourne.

Arkley uses bold artificial colours, which emphasise the patterns of roof tiles and garage doors, paved pathways and sweeping lawns. He makes us aware that the suburbs are full of colour and unusual textures. Although the image is familiar and cheerful, almost like an advertisement in a real estate magazine, there is something alienating and isolated about the obsessive neatness, lack of human figures and the shadowy windows.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra