Mariëtte van der Ven (1967)

Lives and works in Nieuwendijk, The Netherlands

Who visits the studio of Mariëtte van der Ven is overwhelmed by an oasis of greenery, an environment she created with her own hands when she moved into her current home and studio with husband and children 15 years ago. Her love for nature, like her love for people, is deeply rooted. The choice she made to return to the countryside after her study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rotterdam also has to do with this. She seeks the peace and quiet she needs to create her work in silence and finds it in nature. Working in the garden and taking long walks with the dogs bring her in the right state for making her ceramic sculptures. 

Trained as a sculptor rather than a ceramicist, at some point she began working with clay as a medium to shape her sculptures. She was looking for a material that she could keep scraping and fiddling with until she liked it and ended up with clay. Initially it was a clay with chamotte in which she used a glaze as a skin. As her sculptures became more and more human images she began to see glaze as a limitation, it was a shiny layer that created distance instead of showing the sophistication in the faces.  By chance she came across porcelain clay and decided to experiment with it.  Porcelain really turned out to be a very different material than clay with chamotte and required a lot of practice and patience. Porcelain challenged her to work very fine and detailed, which she found and finds appropriate in certain works. It lends itself very well to getting the right expression in a sculpture and comes very close to human skin. 

Lately, she felt the need to work in less detail and, in addition to working with porcelain, she started working with chamotte clay again. She also began to study the application of sculptural glazes that give the sculptures a poetic charge.

In Mariëtte’s sculptures, human appearance plays the main role. However, she is never concerned with the likeness or perfection of the portrait or figure but she uses the figures to tell a story which is sometimes poetic, sometimes uncomfortable and other times activist. In her recent work, natural elements and animals take on an increasing role. “The concern I have about man’s destructive influence on nature has become the main subject in my work in recent years,” she says of the shift in her work. “It has not been a conscious choice, but a commitment, a logical consequence of the developments around us: climate change, wars, nitrogen problems and others. The work is about how humans interact with nature, but also with animals, with the earth. From my position as an artist, I have the opportunity to make a statement through my work. And growing up in the 80s I certainly won’t let that.”

Mariette van der Ven  (Vriezenveen, 1967)
Mariette van der Ven1986-1991 Academie van Beeldende Kunsten Rotterdam
Majors in beeldhouwen en 1e graad handvaardigheid

Exhibitions (selection)

2023 Figuratieven ’23 Galerie Terra, Delft
2023 Fondation Bernardaud, Limoges (FR)
2023 MIC Faenza Selected Artists for 62 Faenza Prize, Faenza (It)
2023 Visavu Gallery, Woudrichem
2023 Galerie Project 2.0, Den Haag

2022 North Sea Jazz, Rotterdam
2022 Galerie de Ploegh, Amersfoort
2022  Galerie Project 2.0, Den Haag
2022 Solotentoonstelling Galerie Terra, Delft
2021 Hofvijver Expo, Den Haag
2021 Galerie Project 2.0, Den Haag
2021 Coda Museum Keramiek Triënnale, Apeldoorn
2020 Together at last, Galerie Project 2.0, Den Haag
2020 Galerie DNK, Dorst
2019 Museum de Tiendschuur, Tegelen
2019 Galerie Huub Hannen, Maastricht
2019 KunstRai Project 2.0, Amsterdam
2018 Galerie Project 2.0, Den Haag
2018 Galerie Terra, Delft
2018 Art Company, Eindhoven
2017 Mme. Steinitz, Parijs
2017 Kunstkamer, Delft
2016 Rotterdam Contemporary, Rotterdam
2016 Galerie Visavu, Woudrichem
2016 Chambre de Delft, Delft
2016 Duo expositie Galerie Terra, Delft
2015 Figuratives Terra, Delft
2015 Keramiek Triennale,  Apeldoorn
2015 Ceramique 14 Paris Biennale, Parijs
2014 RAW Artfair, Rotterdam
2014 Solotentoonstelling, Terra Delft
2014 Groepstentoonstelling Blas&Knada, Stockholm
2013 RAW Artfair Rotterdam
2013 Zwart & Wit Gorcums Museum Gorinchem
2013 China tentoonstelling Oude Kerk, Delft
2013 Collect London, London (GB)
2013 De mens in Beeld, Tiel
2013 Shanghai Artfair, Shanghai (China)
2013 Shenzhen Artfair, Shenzhen (China)