Friday, 15 December 2006

Matthew Clayfield has written a really great post on his Esoteric Rabbit Blog about Howard Arkley, the Melbourne painter who died tragically young in 1999.

The post also brings to our attention the fact that there will be a major retrospective of this interesting painter touring the country. In 2007 it will appear at the National Gallery of Victoria, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and the Queensland Art Gallery. The NGV Web site explains the interest Arkley continues to generate:

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 the real and the model, between utilitarianism and decoration, and between the elevated and the commonplace.

Clayfield makes the interesting connection to the major hit series that has been broadcast over the past few years by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Kath and Kim.

It's probably television's Kath & Kim that comes closest to achieving the same ambivalence—and therefore complexity—of Arkley's work, but even it has a tendency to go one way or the other (which is inevitable really, given its obligations as a satire).


Matthew said...

Thanks for the shout-out; much appreciated.

Meanwhile, this is a wonderful blog you've got going here! Expect a link coming your way soon!

Dean said...

I really like Arkley's paintings. I was delighted to find someone else shared my interest. And it was a good poast, too.