It would be an arduous task to put down all the works we liked in a single post, so here are some of our highlights. But first, let me start with our best picks of the day. For me, it was hands down the Melbourne based scottish artist Euan Heng. The piece I loved was called Centre Forward. There's a sort of deco poster quality to his pristine clean lines and pastelly hues. And the silver dot completely made the picture for me.
Centre Forward - but with a black dot (pic courtesy of Boutwell Draper Gallery from the Melbourne Art Fair website)
Little Lamp Painting (pic courtesy of www.euanheng.com)
Semaphore (pic courtesy of www.euanheng.com)
He also does neon sculptures with equally simple lines that are just as stunning.
e is for elephant (pic courtesy of www.euanheng.com)
momento dome (pic courtesy of www.euanheng.com)
M was fascinated by New Zealander Gregory Bennett's digital artpiece Omnipolis. A post apocalyptic urban scene scape populated by showroom dummies gesticulating amongst wartorn buildings and plumes of fire and smoke. We were equally blown away by the accompanying video loop. It reminded him of childhood games playing with toy soldiers, although the stark colours and shiny black backdrop pointed towards something a little more sinister. The examples below give you some idea of the intriguing and strangely hynoptic artistic nightmares this animator indulges in. The real thing, of course, had greater impact.
Another New Zealander that turned our heads was Martin Thompson. Using marker pens and graph paper, he constructs amazing geometrical patterns that just burst with colour and unassuming symmetry.
Untitled by Martin Thompson (pic from the Otago Daily Times)
Purple (pic from http://www.selftaughtart.org.nz)
The piece by Israel Burch called Kawakawa fairly leapt off the walls and immediately drew our eyes in towards its polished steel surface carefully layered with dark orange laquer. The picture below simply does not do it justice. Burch is a Maori artist who tries to incorporate his culture and traditions into a contemporary visual medium. The end results are rich in colour and texture.
Kawakawa (pic from http://www.artwhatson.com.au)
David Noonan, a London based Australian artist dealing in mainly screenprints, had an installation that made me feel like busting some Saturday Night Fever moves. Just looking at his birch ply figurines of a moustachoied lothario replendent in flares and platforms and I was Bianca Jagger complete in floppy hat, oversized sunnies and belted jersey dress, sashaying throgh the gallery on my way to Studio 54.
Installation (pic from http://www.foxyproduction.com)
Although I am more partial to the non-colour end of the spectrum, every now and then a bright shiny calvacade of colours in swirly patterns can make my creative heart sing. Reuben Paterson, another Kiwi, uses glitter and gold dust (can there be a better medium??) to compose his Maori motifs. The series we saw was called End of Phase, but the picture below gives you a little idea of the richness this artists mines.
Folkloric (pic from http://www.gowlangsfordgallery.co.nz)
The Chinese artists are always ones to watch and I absolutely adored Qin Chong's abstract strokes of ink on paper. Qin Chong divides his time between Beijing and Berlin and perhaps its that melding of Eastern and Western sensibilities that really appeals to me and understandably touches a chord.
11th January doesn't matter (pic from http://ausintunggallery.com/)
Oliver Watts, a Sydney artist, is a bit of a clever cogs, having studied Arts and Law before turning his attention to more creative pursuits with shapes of coloured paper and dada poetry. I would love to commission him to do a portrait of M and me, but sadly we do not exist in that stratosphere. We actually met Oliver at the stand and he is so lovely!
Andre Breton (pic from http://galleryecosse.com.au)
The Elevator Carried A King (pic from http://www.artwhatson.com.au/galleryecosse/oliver-watts)
Brisbane artist Grant Stevens had M metaphorically reaching for his wallet with his lenticular print series called Love is a Drug. It would be hard to get the full effect on the 2D representation below, but lenticular prints are those pictures or photos that change from one image to another as you move them. It was used a lot for religious iconography and (oddly enough) dirty pictures of old. You know, Jesus with clapsed hands in prayer, then wow! Jesus with outstretched hands. Or Betty Grable in 50s pant suit, then Ooh! Betty Grable topless! Anyhoo these were amazing. You could buy a single edition with one aspect of the colour spectrum, or buy the lot and have the whole rainbow at your disposal.
Love is a Drug (pic from http://ocula.com/art-galleries/gallery-barry-keldoulis/)
And finally, if you have lasted the distance of this post, we have saved the most whimsical for last. Troy Emery!! Amazeballs!! Taking cues from taxidermy, Troy's animals were not hunted, skinned and formaldehyded, they were lovingly pummelled to "death" by the local community craft society. Taxidermy with coloured pom poms, pipe cleaners and golden tassles ... where do I sign?!
You are probably reading this after the fact, but if you're thinking of going next year, make sure you give yourself enough time. We only managed to walk through the ground floor and never made it upstairs. Its exhausting but you get to see so much.