Originally from Mildura, Penny Byrne is one of Australia's most radical contemporary ceramacists. Often tackling current events and issues like the environment and politics in her current work, Byrne began her career as a ceramics restorer and conservator. The Four Horsemen of the 21st Century Apocalypse (Water Scarcity, Peak Oil, Food Shortages, Over population) was originally shown at a solo exhibition at Sullivan+Strumpf in Sydney, which also represents the artist.
Penny Byrne, born 1965, completed a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) at La Trobe University, Melbourne in 1997, a Bachelor of Art (Fine Art Ceramics) at RMIT University in Melbourne, 1987 and a Graduate Diploma (Ceramics and Glass Conservation and Restoration) at West Dean College in the United Kingdom, 1990.
Byrne meticulously constructs manipulated figurines from damaged and antiquidated ceramic objects into artworks that fiercely wield a political message. The use of fragile ceramics contradicts the political issues evident in her work. Byrne’s satirical viewpoint confronts a number of contemporary political issues that presents an ongoing inquiry into popular culture and international politics. Her training as a ceramics conservator informs her practice.
Byrne has exhibited internationally and extensively in Australia. Recent Solo exhibitions include Penny Byrne: Commentariat, Deakin University Art Gallery, Melbourne (2011) and Penny Byrne, Mantelpiece, Linden Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2006). Byrne’s work was featured in the group shows Clash: Contemporary Sculptural Ceramics, Newcastle Region Gallery, Newcastle (2011), Thing: Beware of the Material World, Art Gallery of Western Australia (2009) and Horror – Come Darkness, Macquarie University Art Gallery (2009). In 2010 Byrne was the subject of the documentary for the ABC TV program Artscape. Byrne’s is currently exhibited in a solo exhibition at the Museum of Australian Democracy, Old Parliament House, from 2011-2012.
Born 1965, Victoria
1997 Bachelor of Law, La Trobe University, Melbourne
1990 Graduate Diploma (Ceramics and Glass Conservation and Restoration) West Dean College, West Sussex, United Kingdom
1987 Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art Ceramics), RMIT University, Melbourne
AWARDS, PRIZES AND GRANTS
2012 Albury Art Prize, Albury Art Gallery, finalist
2011 Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize, Sydney, finalist
2011 NAVA Grant: Janet Holmes à Court Artists' Grant
2010 City of Hobart Art Prize, Hobart, finalist
2009 Stan + Maureen Duke Award, Gold Coast City Gallery, Gold Coast, finalist
2009 Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize, Sydney, finalist
2008 Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize, Sydney, finalist
2008 Stan and Maureen Duke Award, finalist
2008 The Fishers Ghost Art Award, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Sydney, finalist
2007 Ripe, Art & Australia and ANZ Emerging Artists, finalist
2006 Warrnambool Regional Art Gallery New Social Commentaries 06 exhibition, Warrnambool, finalist
2005 Linden Post Card Show, Linden Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, Postcard Winner
2002 Pat Emery Award for Emerging Ceramicists, Victorian Ceramic Group, Honourable Mention
2001 Pat Emery Award for Emerging Ceramicists, Victorian Ceramic Group, Honourable Mention
1988 Meat Market Craft Centre Ceramics Studio Residency (12 months)