Ruth Downes was born in Sydney in 1954. She studied Interior Design at the National Art School graduating in 1975. Downes then worked as an artist at the Australian Museum and between 1979-1986 she tutored in exhibition and furniture design in the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Sydney.

She then worked as designer for the Bicentennial Authority until 1988.

Since 1988 Downes has run her own business in Sydney commissioned for public art, visual identity, exhibition and graphic design. She has also created her own mixed-media exhibitions which have toured to many venues in Australia and USA.



1972-1975                   National Art School, Sydney. Dip.Int.Des. ASTC.


2001                            Peoples Choice Prize, National Sculpture Prize and Exhibition, National Gallery of Australia, ACT


Barely Wearable

2024                           Bribie Island Seaside Museum, Moreton Bay, Qld

2023-24                     Peppin Heritage Centre, Deniliquin, NSW

2023                           Caroline Springs Gallery, Caroline Springs, Melbourne, Vic

2022-3                        Manly Art Gallery and Museum, Manly, NSW

2021                            Hurstville Museum and Gallery, Hurstville, NSW

2021                            Lapunyah Art Gallery, Chinchilla, Qld

2021                            Gympie Regional Art Gallery, Gympie, Qld

2020                            Manning Regional Art Gallery, Taree, NSW

2020                            Jervis Bay Maritime Museum and Gallery, Huskisson NSW

Lunch for the Trades

2011                            Maitland Regional Art Gallery, NSW

2010                            Cairns Regional Gallery, & Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville, Qld

2009                            Manning Regional Art Gallery, Taree, NSW

2008                            Harvey Bay Regional Gallery, Qld;   Port Macquarie Hastings Regional Gallery, NSW

2007                            Manly Art Gallery and Museum, NSW;   Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Qld

Tea Party in the Mayoral Garden

2010                            Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville, Qld

2009                            Workshop Arts Centre, Willoughby, NSW

2007                            Araluen Galleries, Alice Springs, NT;   Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Qld

2005                            Maitland Regional Art Gallery, NSW;   Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery, NSW

2005                            Cowra Art Gallery, NSW;   Manly Art Gallery and Museum, NSW

2004                            Port Macquarie Regional Gallery, NSW;   Wagga Wagga Regional Art Gallery, NSW

2003                            Maroondah Art Gallery, Melbourne, Vic;   NERAM, Armidale, NSW

2002                            Australian Consulate General, New York, USA

2002                            Australian Ambassador’s Residence, Washington DC, USA

2002                            Embassy of Australia, Washington DC, USA [sponsored by Macquarie Bank and NGA]


2021                            ‘Transformation‘ – Royal Botanic Gardens Exhibition, Sydney, NSW

2021                            Northern Beaches Environmental Art and Design Prize, Curl Curl, NSW

2019                            Northern Beaches Art Prize, Curl Curl, NSW

2017                            ‘Land’ Exhibition, Manly Art Gallery and Museum, Manly, NSW

2013                            Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe, WA

2012                            Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, NSW

2006                            Maunsell Wickes Gallery, Paddington, NSW

2005                            Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, NSW

2003 & 2004              Defiance Gallery, Sydney, NSW

2003                            Rockhampton Regional Gallery, Qld

2002                            SOFA [International Sculpture, Object & Functional Art Fair], Chicago, USA

2002                            Snyderman/Works Gallery, Philadelphia PA, USA

2001                            National Sculpture Prize and Exhibition, National Gallery of Australia, ACT


2013                            Damien Freeman ‘Why put Sculture by the Sea?’ Look 10|13 AGNSW

2005                            Kate Buckingham ‘The national sculpture prize’ Antiques & Art 68thedition

2002                            Lauren Martin ‘Stirring originaliTea’ The Sydney Morning Herald Feb 27 p.7 2002

2002                            Benjamin Haslem ‘Sculptor takes top prize for populari-tea’ The Australian’ Feb 27

2002                            Louise Martin-Chew ‘Rebirth of Sculpture in Australia’   Art & Australia Vol 40/1

2002                            Margaret Meagher ‘On being ARTea’ State of the Arts May-Aug p.83

2002                            Meredith Hinchliffe ‘Tea Party’ Object No 40 p.15

2002                            Serena Lei ‘Tea is her bag’ The Washington Diplomat July p.4


2016                            Parramatta Jubilee Park, in-ground glass mosaic refurbished and relocated from Mall

2009                            Rockdale City Council; 70m mural with stainless steel motifs

2004-07                      Parramatta Mall and Main St street furniture & safety rails – Winner of 2007 AILA NSW Greenspace Award

2007                            24 Hunter St, Parramatta; commercial glazing/awning structure-public artwork

2006                            Manly Council, Market Lane; innovative mural featuring Manly Daily headlines

2006                            The Dominion, 31 Hassall St; Parramatta, floodgates-public artwork,

2005                            HMAS Parramatta Memorial, Queens Wharf Park, Parramatta

2000                            Roads and Traffic Authority/State Wide Roads; M4 Motorway, Parramatta to Penrith; 650 acoustic walls

1997                            Sydney Water, James Ruse Drive Bridge, Parramatta; relief sculpture

1996                            Parramatta Council, Heritage Centre; terrazzo floor

1996                            Parramatta Council, Charles Street Wharf; steel sculpture & mosaic

1995                            Department of Defence, Pitt Street head office; atrium artwork

1994                            Parramatta Council, Parramatta Mall; in ground glass mosaic,

1988                            Australian Bicentennial Authority; ‘Bicentennial Look’ design