The Collage Environment
Collage study for Suburban and Suburban Interior, c. 1982
Howard Arkley Archive, MS 14217/8/1628
Australian Manuscripts Collection, State Library VictoriaContributors
© The Estate of Howard Arkley. Courtesy Kalli Rolfe Contemporary Art
With Arkley’s trademark black airbrushed line, Suburban Interior (1983) assembles a range of familiar domestic objects into a cosy suburban scene which is coloured in by a section of bright, floral wallpaper. The use of this readymade element continues the artist’s project to highlight the ubiquity of the decorative in daily life.
According to the artist, the images in the painting came from a Myer direct mail colour catalogue, which he collaged together. Dissolving the line between the choices of artist and the tastes of the home decorator, Arkley’s selections of the most appealing items in the catalogue reveals that, amidst the visual noise of signs and advertising, the process of sampling is an everyday element of consumer activity. The forms and textures of the products that we choose, are cut and paste from the show room into our living rooms where they are readily assimilated into the contours and patterns of our suburban lifestyle.