Karen DENSHAM British, b. 1960

Karen DENSHAM is a British artist whose practice spans ceramics, works on paper, photography and video. Combining satire and kitsch, Densham reacts against everyday sentimentality, creating works that challenge assumptions and presumptions about the world around us. Embracing what Duchamp referred to as ‘assisted readymades’, Densham sources found objects from eBay, high street charity shops or car boot sales to either replicate in clay or alter in watercolour and other forms, employing appropriation strategies found in Postmodernism and its associated scepticism of universal truths. Often using comfort objects or toys like bunnies or kittens, her work sullies the niceties of home. Delicately rendered and seemingly harmless figures or figurines are transformed into somewhat sinister and displaced objects. What could be mistaken for innocent ornaments or pretty decorations, when viewed out of context, take on double-meanings and reveal themselves as poetic markers for the darker side of life.


Based in Ipswich, Densham studied ceramics at the Royal College of Art, London, as well as The Polytechnic, Wolverhampton and Harlow Technical College, Essex. She has been featured in solo and group exhibitions in prominent institutions, including the V&A, Serpentine, Whitworth Art Gallery, ICA London, Jugg Art Foundation Gallery, The Minories Gallery, and the Museum of Contemporary Ceramic Art (Japan), amongst others. Her work is included in public and private collections in the United Kingdom and around the world and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including Eastern Open’s Experimental Media Award, European Prize of Contemporary Art and Design and the London Arts Board Award.