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.