True to form, Arkley also drew on disparate sources for his freeway paintings: from photographs he took on a road trip to Canberra in 1987 to still images of graphics from a car-racing computer game, to an everyday advertising sign which provided the key colours for the palette he used.
However, despite their overt representational content, Arkley considered these works, like many of his houses, to be vehicles for his ongoing formal concerns with colour, line and pattern. Turning, in particular to the black and white studies for these works, it is possible to see a return to some of the compositional principles that were at play in the production of his White Paintings. In the study for The Freeway (1999), against a large open background, a series of rigid vertical lines frame clusters of both geometric and organic shapes. In the overlooked, indeterminate, and in-between space, of this urban infrastructure, Arkley discovered a new motif with which he could reprise some of the concerns of his initial formal investigations into the tensions between absence and presence, stasis and movement.