Howard Arkley

Born 1951, Melbourne, Victoria. Lived and worked in Melbourne. Died 1999.

Howard Arkley’s upbringing in suburban Melbourne, alongside exhibitions such as a Sidney Nolan retrospective (1986-1987) and The Field (1968) at the National Gallery of Victoria, informed Arkley’s first forays into artmaking and had a direct impact on the development of his signature style. Arkely’s dynamic and stylised use of colour and line, along with his use of an airbrush to apply paint, created images intentionally devoid of the artist’s hand. Through this aesthetic, Arkley’s work maintained a consistent exploration of both the suburban sphere and popular culture within Australia.

Arkley has not only exhibited widely in Australian state and commercial galleries, but also represented Australia internationally at the Venice Biennale. Selected solo exhibitions of Arkley’s work include Howard Arkley and Friends, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville, Victoria (2015); Howard Arkley: The Retrospective, Ian Potter Centre: National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2007); The Home Show, 48th Venice Biennale, Australian Pavilion, Venice, Italy (1999); Popism, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (1992); Primitive, Prahran College Gallery, Melbourne (1992); HA: Howard Arkley, Monash University Gallery, Melbourne (1991); Howard Arkley Casual Works: Working Drawings. Source Material, Doodles 1974-1987, 200 Gertrude St Gallery, Melbourne (1988); Muzak Mural Installation, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (1981).  

Group exhibitions include Pop to Popism, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2014); Australia, Royal Academy of Arts, London (2013); Melbourne >< Brisbane: Punk, Art and After, Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne (2010); Colour, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (2003); Everyday, 11th Biennale of Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (1998); Off the Wall/In the Air: A Seventies’ Selection, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (1991); Art of the 1970s, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (1989); Picturesque in an Institution, State Library of Victoria, Melbourne (1988).

Arkley’s work is held in a number of private, public and university collections within Australia including Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; the Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne; the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; National Portrait Gallery, Canberra.