Howard Arkley - Studio Arts Unit 3

Essay by lindulHigh School, 12th gradeA+, April 2006

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Howard Arkley was born in Surrey Hills, Melbourne, Australia, in 1951 and died there in Oakleigh, Melbourne, on 22 July 1999. Arkley was a major presence in the Australian art world and his exhibitions were significant events. He first exhibited at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne, in 1975 at the age of 24. The suburban landscape had been Arkley's inspiration for more than two decades. His idea of the 'ideal home' had become iconic images within Australia and attracted significant overseas attention from collectors and curators. He saw that the suburbs were a worthy landscape with more relevance than the bush to most Australians. The suburbs are an icon of Australian cultural identity and Arkley took this as his opportunity to create amazing art, which reflected a celebration of life in Australian suburbia.

Howard was influenced by a great range of things throughout his short life. Punk music/culture, Travel, his teachers, children's books, his wives, art nouveau, textures and most importantly suburbia, to name but a few.

Elizabeth Gower, his first wife introduced him to women's art movement, i.e. quilting and traditional handicrafts. This can be seen in his work, the "Vortex", 1981. As well as the obvious pattern, line and shape.

"Printout Red/Blue", 1980. This work incorporates important early influences on Arkley, such as the work of American artists Frank Stella and Agnes Martin, through the use of pencil squares. This work also brings to mind patterned lino and embroidery. This is an important pre-cursor to later works in which Arkley depicted the patterns of flywire screen doors of Australian homes.

"Disco", 1981. This artwork shows the influence that early computer games such as Pacman had on Arkley. It also reminds me of neon disco floor lights. It also shows texture, which he was quite interested in at the time, especially...