5 Most Stunning Artworks at DEN Fair 2016

Curated by a well-selected advisory board, DEN Fair is a boutique trade event and the leading destination for contemporary design in Australia. Open from today until Saturday at the Melbourne Convention Centre, the trade show delivers a stimulating environment of discovery and inspiration. Although it is known more for design, furniture and homewares, this year’s show has an impressive line up of world renowned artists and a spectacular gallery section. We were lucky to get in early and have a look around. Here are 5 stunning artworks that caught our eye at the fair:

1. Earning my Stripes by Greg Semu (Alcaston Gallery)

Born in New Zealand, Greg embraces Samoa as his ancestral and spiritual home. The theme of cultural displacement in the Pacific is a river that runs strongly through Semu’s artwork.IMG_5365Marielle Soni from Alcaston Gallery was on hand to explain the story behind his striking images. Often using himself and his cultural rights of passage as his subject, this photograph was captured as the artist was being tattooed with this traditional water design. “Unlike in Western civilisations where water has always been seen as a divider, a border,” explains Marielle, “for Samoans it’s a connector.”

This artwork was picked to be showcased at the 56th Venice Biennale and Greg has an exhibition coming up at The National Gallery of Victoria this month. A rising star of raw, emotive work.

IMG_53722. Debbie Harry by Anna Halm Schudel (Lumas Melbourne)

From a distance this looks like a classic pop poster of the icon, but as you get closer you realise it’s a mosaic using thousands of images of her. Although done digitally, each image was hand selected by the artist to match the colour of the mosaic perfectly. No images have been altered.IMG_5374This artwork holds another secret on closer inspection. Can you see it? One image used throughout isn’t Debbie Harry. Meet the eccentric artist, Anna, who puts herself in all her mosaic works. The Where’s Wally of the art world.

IMG_53923. Synecdoche by Hannah Quinlivan (Flinders Lane Gallery)

Standing in front of what Hannah calls her “spatial drawings” feels a bit like you’ve been shrunk and are now exploring a living organism on a cellular level. It creates an immersive experience. “Instead of the viewer being on the outside looking in,” explains Hannah, “I’m trying to embed the viewer into the artwork itself and make them active within it.” Hannah’s works are in a number of important collections including the National Gallery of Australia.

image (4)4. Just before sleep series by Kerry Armstrong

Kerry is an emerging artist creating bold, large scale and unapologetic art. “My work allows me to capture and lay down on linen intersecting moments of raw emotional honesty,” says Kelly. “These glimpses of my life ultimately result in a deeper connection with myself with regards to subconscious, personal matter.” Her monochromatic “Just before sleep” series is relatable and moving to behold. This photo doesn’t do it justice. Equally as impressive as her work is the relatively short time she has called herself an artist. Three years ago she was at the tail end of a long corporate career.

IMG_53905. I Lose Myself in You by Lionel Bawden (Karen Woodbury Gallery)

Lionel Bawden exploits hexagonal coloured pencils as a sculptural material, reconfigured and carved into amorphous shapes, mining the material’s rich qualities of colour, geometry and metaphor. The organic forms his work takes is mesmerising up close. Bawden explores themes of flux, transformation and repetition as preconditions to our experience of the physical world, essential to the construction of identity.IMG_5393DEN Fair is open to the public this Saturday. We strongly recommend you go along and explore all the visual and sensory delights for yourself.


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