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Artbank Staff Profile: Rod Palmer

Name: Rod Palmer

Job Title: Senior Registrar

What year did you join the Artbank team: 2010

Describe your role and what you enjoy about working for Artbank:
I joined Artbank in 2010 having moved to Sydney from Brisbane where I had worked as Senior Registrar of Collections at QAGOMA. My role at Artbank oversees the care and protection of the Artbank Collection in the art storage facilities in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. This involves leading a busy Registration team in the functions of acquisitions, loans, packing, international shipping, conservation care, transport and installation.

Select an Artwork to represent you:
#1227, Howard Arkley, Printout, 1981, Synthetic polymer paint on canvas

Short explanation of your artwork selection:
I have always admired this painting by Howard Arkley. Printout is a highly accomplished painting by an artist that absolutely mastered an airbrushed technique that leaves no room for errors in execution. It reminds me of decorative pattern making of crafts such as embroidery or needlework that my mum used to do when I was growing up. Interestingly Arkley had used this pattern a year earlier on one of 40 Trams painted by Australian artists that screeched their way around Melbourne streets during the 1980s. I like how the dots cleverly alternate between black and grey to give sharpness and softness to the airbrushed surface while the blue and red oscillate for space. The stencilled lines and shapes seem to float off the canvas. 

For me this artwork is also a great example of the importance and significance of the Artbank Collection to the very grassroots of the Australian arts community. Purchased in 1981 Howard Arkley was an emerging mid-career artist rising in prominence, and it was going to be another 18 years before he went on to represent Australia at the 48th Venice Biennale with his more iconic lurid spray paint images of suburbia. Artbank was supporting Arkley at the early stages of his career and this is what I like about the Artbank collection. Since 1980, Artbank has supported artists at the beginning of their careers, and in doing so has established one of the most interesting collections in Australia, made accessible for everyone.

Howard Arkley, Printout, 1981 - Artwork

Howard Arkley, Printout, 1981