Prue Venables has established a national and international reputation as one of Australia’s leading contemporary ceramic artists. Motivated by a particular interest in functional objects and a search for simplicity, quietness and an essential stillness, Prue makes objects that are pared back, serene and deceptively simple. These beautiful porcelain objects disguise the laborious making process involved. As Prue explains, “I enjoy the contradictory nature of the pieces, where the sprung tension of the throwing remains clear, but the origins of forms are uncertain. Risks are high but failure only motivates me to try again”. In this work, the technical expertise, invention and a diversity of references gently recede, allowing forms to stand innocently and for details of and for their inter-relationships and gestural suggestions to flourish. Through her work, Prue explores a multitude of references, ranging from musical harmonies and spaces through to functional objects. Nineteenth Century industrial English pottery and contemporary metal and plastic objects are of particular interest. Her graceful forms are made to be used and handled but also embody sculptural and spacial interactions to reflect musical rhythm and even a quiet pause for breath.
Prue Venables was born in England but grew up in Australia before returning to England in 1977 to study ceramics at the renowned Harrow School of Art. After teaching and practicing ceramics in the UK for 12 years, Prue returned to Australia in 1989 and has continued to exhibit widely in Australia, Japan, Europe, Asia and the USA. Prue is the recipient of numerous significant national and international awards. In 2018, she was selected as the Australian Design Centre’s 9th Living Treasure, and in 2023 she was selected as a finalist for the LOEWE Foundation Craft Award at the Noguchi Museum, New York. In 2015, she won the 2015 Clunes Ceramic Award and in 2018 received a Judges Commendation for her work in “STILL: Australian Still Life Award” at Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery. She is a member of the International Academy of Ceramics and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, UK. Prue’s work is in many collections including the National Gallery of Australia, Fuping Museum (China), Auckland Museum and Gallery (New Zealand) and the state galleries of Queensland, Northern Territory, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia.