Howard Arkley (1951-1999) A Large House with Fence, 1998
Lot 11
Howard Arkley
(1951-1999)
A Large House with Fence, 1998
Sold for AU$ 463,600 (US$ 350,988) inc. premium

Lot Details
Howard Arkley (1951-1999)
A Large House with Fence, 1998
signed, dated and inscribed 'Howard Arkley 1998 Large House with Fence' verso
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
203.5 x 304.3cm (80 1/8 x 119 13/16in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE
    Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
    Private collection, New South Wales
    Private collection, Melbourne

    EXHIBITED
    11th Biennale of Sydney - every day, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 18 September - 8 November 1998
    Sampling 1998, Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne, 28 November - 24 December 1998

    LITERATURE
    Robyn McKenzie in Jonathan Watkins (ed.), 11th Biennale of Sydney - every day, Biennale of Sydney, Sydney, 1998, pp. 62-63 (illus.)
    Vogue Austalia, August Issue, 1998, pp. 52-53 (illus.)
    The Australian Financial Review Magazine, January 1999, (cover illus.)
    'Artfolio: Howard Arkley', New York Contemporary Art Report, Feburary - March 2000, pp. 87-95 (illus.)
    Hemispheres, United Airlines Magazine, June 1999, p. 69 (illus.)
    Megan Backhouse,The Age, 6 September 2000
    Jeffrey Makin, Herald Sun, Melbourne, 27 November 2000

    'Arkley has become best known for his paintings of the exteriors and interiors of suburban houses. His recreations of the suburban scene have iconic status as an image of Australian experience and identity rivalling the bush landscapes of previous generations' 1

    Howard Arkley's suburban houses were inspired by and often directly referenced drawings that real estate agents produced to advertise properties in newspapers. Breathing extraordinary life into often mundane imagery, Arkley described his obsession with the suburban as, 'Ordinary houses are full of pattern. You go into a house, there's no art... but it's filled with kind of second-degree imagery – The patterning around the fireplace, on the curtains, in the carpet; and the different bricks on the different houses, and the pattern between the gutter, the nature-strip, the footpath, then you have the fence, then you have the lawn, the house, the tiles, then you have the beautiful sky.... and I missed the bushes in between... its rich.'2

    A Large House with Fence, 1998 was painted the year before the artist's untimely death, along with its close companion, Superb + Solid, 1998, now in the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. Exemplifying Arkley's late suburban style at its most confident, most assured, the extraordinary and unprecedented scale of the work, measuring two by three metres, results in a painting which dominates space, enveloping the viewer in a landscape almost real in its proportions.

    With its flat planes of pattern and texture, A Large House with Fence fuses the literal with the psychedelic. The stencilled pattern to the front fence shifts within our perception from knotted woodgrain back to abstraction, the illusion temporary. It is that tension between representation and abstraction in Arkley's works that make them most fascinating, the real made unreal. Painted during the artist's deepening experimentations with installation work, John Gregory observed of this period, 'His style was evolving significantly during these years, with new subtelties in spatial effects, and colour (pastel hues, more frequent recourse to a grey rather than black outline) and increasingly refined use of stencilled patterning'3 .

    1 Robyn McKenzie, 11th Biennale of Sydney - every day, Sydney, 1998, p. 62
    2 John Gregory, 'Carnival in Suburbia: The Art of Howard Arkley', Cambridge University Press, p. 9
    3 Ibid., p. X
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