Mariëtte van der Ven

Mariëtte van der Ven (born 1967) is a Dutch sculptor living and working in Nieuwendijk, The Netherlands. After graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in Rotterdam (sculpting) in 1991, she worked mainly on ceramic human sculptures.

Her work has been exhibited frequently in The Netherlands and abroad in galleries and museums and has been acquired by private collectors and museums. In 2012, she was invited for a residency in Sanbao (China), where she worked for six weeks and later showed the results at the Artfair in Shanghai. Her work has been selected for several ceramic competitions.

Trained as a sculptor rather than a ceramicist, at some point, Mariëtte began working with clay as a medium to shape her sculptures. She was looking for a material 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 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 appropriate in certain works. It lends itself very well to getting the right expression in a sculpture and comes very close to human skin. She currently works with both porcelain and chamotte clay, bisque or glazed, depending on what the work demands.

In Mariëtte’s sculptures, human appearance plays the leading role. However, she is never concerned with the likeness or perfection of the portrait or figure. Still, she uses figures to tell a story that is sometimes poetic, sometimes uncomfortable, and other times activist. In her recent work, natural elements and animals take on an increasing role. Her sculptures bear witness to her concern about the deplorable state the world has fallen into due to human intervention.

Visit Mariëtte van der Ven’s website and Instagram page.

Featured work

Selected works, 2019-2023

Mariëtte van der Ven Ceramics
Mariëtte van der Ven Ceramics