Skip to main content

Howard Arkley 1, 1980, 1980 (printed 2012)

Robert Rooney

inkjet print (sheet: 24.0 cm x 35.2 cm, image: 20.0 cm x 30.5 cm)

Howard Arkley (1951–1999) received several major grants that enabled him to travel and study. He came to see no sense in the Australian preoccupation with paintings of the bush, when such a small percentage of the population engages with the bush itself. Instead, over twenty years of experimentation, he developed a distinctively psychedelic and incandescent airbrush style, which he applied to immaculately-finished depictions of suburban homes and interiors. After representing Australia with such works at the 48th Venice Biennale in June 1999, he travelled to London to plan an album cover for Nick Cave, and then to Los Angeles for a sell-out show of his paintings. He married his long-time partner in Las Vegas before returning to Melbourne, where he died a few days later.

Robert Rooney (b. 1937), painter, conceptual artist and photographer, took many photographs of suburban streetscapes, as well as more than seventy pictures of Melbourne visual arts identities in the 1970s and 1980s.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2012

Accession number: 2012.101

Currently not on display

Copyright image request form
Request a digital copy of an image for publication

Artist and subject

Robert Rooney (age 43 in 1980)

Howard Arkley (age 29 in 1980)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

© National Portrait Gallery 2019
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196
The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Ngunnawal people, the traditional custodians of the land upon which the NPG stands.