Western suburbs
Dull Home

Born Melbourne, Australia 1951, died Melbourne 1999


Howard Arkley’s paintings of suburbia are among the most striking images of urban Australia. Using an airbrush Arkley created individual scenes of homes and their interiors utilising psychedelic colours and outlining suggestive of graffiti.

Arkley’s early artistic output while an arts student at Prahran College of Advanced Education (1969–72) and Melbourne State College (1973) included geometric abstracts and surrealist inspired paintings and drawings. His recognisable style and subject matter emerged out of his participation in 5AR: Artists and Architects 86, Melbourne University (1986). Although Arkley failed to produced a collaborative work with the architect Howard Raggatt for this exhibition, the exercise sparked his interest in suburban exteriors.

Since 1975 Arkley has been included in many important exhibitions including: Australian Perspecta 1985, Art Gallery of New South Wales; Meaning and Excellence, Edinburgh Festival of the Arts and travelling, London (1984); and The Australians, CDS Gallery, New York (1984). In 1991 the University of Melbourne held a major retrospective of his work. Arkley also represented Australia at the 1999 Venice Biennale, Italy with The Home Show.

Arkley’s work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, most state and university galleries, and the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra.