17 February, 2016

Triple-Fronted Brick House

During December 2015, we read an article in The Age titled Home Truths by Ray Edgar: a perspective on the suburban home, and, in particular, a reflection on Howard Arkley's artistic depiction of suburban bungalows and triple-fronted buildings. The article referred to a current exhibition of Arkley's paintings at the Tarrawarra Museum of Art, Healesville. Having lived as a family for 54 years in a triple-fronted brick veneer building, we decided to visit the exhibition. 

At the time when I was an apprentice electrician in the 1950's, I worked on many triple-fronted brick veneer buildings as Melbourne progressively expanded beyond the long established inner-suburbs. The second half of the 20th century was notable for 80% of Australians fulfilling their dream of owning a house on a quarter acre block along with a car port and a barbecue area.

In 1941 my family moved from the inner suburb of Brunswick to Ormond; we moved from a small single fronted home of which the facade was built just in from the footpath to a Federation style home located on a large block of land (that home has since been replaced with two units). In 1960 Patricia, Leanne, our 3 month old daughter, and I moved into a triple-fronted house on a quarter acre block in Cheltenham.


Click on photos for larger version

An outstanding feature of Arkley's works of art is the visual effect of luminescent paint. His paintings have been described as "...seductive pop images of suburban bungalows and triple-fronted buildings." Arkley worked hard to establish the suburbs as subjects which are as worthy as the bush landscape tradition. While drifting though the gallery we were entertained by music from Arkley's record collection, and we looked with interest at the displays of his notebooks, sketches, visual diaries and photographs; resources which stimulated the creative imagination of Arkley.

For information on the artistic endeavours of Howard Arkley, I suggest you contact Mr Google.

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