Mixed media artist

Current exhibition

Barely Wearable: body adornment for the age of overconsumption

Ruth Downes reappropriates everyday materials and objects to celebrate their intrinsic beauty. All thirty 3D works are made from the repurposing of a broad range of materials.

More about the ‘Barely Wearable’ exhibition

Exhibition Dates and Locations

Over the next three years Ruth’s ‘Barely Wearable’ exhibition is on the road. It can be seen in seven regional galleries in Sydney, Hunter and South Coast NSW, as well as in Queensland.



12 March – 26 April, Manning Regional Art Gallery, Taree NSW

10 August – 23 November, Jervis Bay Maritime Museum, Huskisson NSW


17 February – 10 April, Gympie Regional Gallery, Gympie QLD

16 April – 26 May, Lapunyah Art Gallery, Chinchilla QLD

23 July – 5 September, Manly Art Gallery and Museum, Sydney NSW


4 February – 1 May 2022, Hurstville Museum and Gallery, Sydney NSW


24 June – 10 September 2023, Maitland Regional Art Gallery, Maitland NSW



23 July – 5 September 2021, Manly Art Gallery and Museum

4 February – 1 May 2022, Hurstville Museum and Gallery

Regional NSW

12 March – 26 April 2020, Manning Regional Art Gallery, Taree

10 August – 23 November 2020, Jervis Bay Maritime Museum, Huskisson

24 June – 10 September 2023, Maitland Regional Art  Gallery, Maitland

Regional Queensland

17 February – 10 April 2021, Gympie Regional Gallery, Gympie

16 April – 26 May 2021, Lapunyah Art Gallery, Chinchilla

About Ruth Downes

Ruth Downes’ portfolio of artwork has ranged from intimate, mixed-media gallery exhibitions to large scale, site-specific public artworks. In her hand-crafted public gallery exhibitions she has evolved materials into a new life with underlying humour and word play.

Her Public art – Commissions projects are also diverse in materials but focused on visual enjoyment and longevity in the outdoor environment.  

 > See Ruth’s CV.

Other projects

Tea party in the Mayoral Garden

Ruth discovers a Mintie wrapper from Mintea
A tax gets its own beverage in GSTea

Forty tea cups and saucers are displayed together as a ‘tea partea’ in this mixed-media artwork. Each handcrafted piece has a name and personality that reflects the diverse characters mingling at this public event.  It won the People’s Choice Award at the National Sculpture Prize at the NGA.  > More about the Tea Party in the Mayoral Garden

Also view > Tea cup sculptures > ‘Tea party’ exhibitions > In the media

Lunch for the Trades

Full trays in a cafeteria carry the tradies’ lunches

A mechanic’s meal on the menu is a metal minestrone

An amusing cafeteria style spread of obsessively crafted meals made from the materials and/or tools of each trade, celebrating the often neglected work of the trades while playing with the language of modern cuisine.  > More about Lunch for the Trades

Also view > Lunch tray sculptures > ‘Lunch for the trades’ exhibitions > In the media

Public art – Commissions

In a number of public spaces, Ruth has created relevant, site-specific artwork in a wide range of materials and sizes.

View > Public art projects


CASTING AROUND – 30 fishing rods and holders, Bondi, Sydney.
A FINE KETTLE OF FISH – Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, Sydney

Away from the constraints of commissions, Ruth enjoyed great success with sculptural installations, both solo and in partnership with Geoff Webster.

View > Sculpture