Tuesday, 5 May 2020

the house around the corner

Born on this day in 1951 (†1999) in Melbourne, Howard Arkley became famous in art circles for his airbrushed depictions of the vernacular interiors and architecture of suburbia.
Having taken up an artist residency in Paris early in his education, Arkley realised that the trappings of home and the aspirational grammar of house-proud and prized real estate were a sort of formalism and energy that could be harnessed—perhaps to certain audiences—as handily as any of the past movements in art and design and these spaces could be celebrated and elaborated upon rather than escaping from them. Arkley had his big break when commissioned to execute a large mural, Primitive—a landscape coursing with cactuses, masks and tattoos, and then got to paint a carriage for the Victorian Ministry of the Arts and was invited to exhibit in Venice and Los Angeles. Shortly after returning to Australia from California, Arkley died from an accidental heroin overdose, a habit he’d kept a secret.