Marliz Frenken, contemporary ceramic artist

Featured Artist

Marliz Frencken


Marliz Frencken (B. 1955, Panningen, The Netherlands) lives and works in Hilversum, The Netherlands.

The first time that Frencken worked with ceramics wasn’t as a ceramicist, but as an artist who deliberately pushed the boundaries of the material, and embraced its imperfections. This process has led to a series of vases as paintings and sculptures that morph into each other’s meaning, and move between being just a vase and a more complex language. A language whereby the curves remind one of a woman’s body.

This female, feminine or the gestalt of a woman has, for over forty years, been a recurring theme within Frencken’s oeuvre. An oeuvre that consists of paintings, sculptures and installations, and moves in between photorealist, surrealist, and abstract interpretations of beauty, vulnerability, hysteria, and comfort. Interpretations that often do not visually please, but fascinate due to a nagging pain that these female figures often display.

Frencken grew up with an ill mother, who wouldn’t get better, and who died when the artist was only fourteen years old. This traumatic event plays an important role in Frencken’s art practice. Often the artist works in series over a period of a few months or years, whereby she analyses a form in depth through the use of colour, materials and technique.

From the ages of 14 to 19, Frencken was trained by painter and stainless steel professional Louis Smeets (assistant of the prominent stainless steel professional Joep Nicolas). After she was educated as a fashion designer at the Art Academy in Arnhem (currently known as ArtEZ), alongside teaching instruction by painter Jurjen de Haan. Although it hasn’t always been easy for a female artist to find appreciation in the masculine art world of the ‘80’s and ‘90’s, there has certainly been success for Frencken. She was nominated for the Prix de Rome, and the royal award for painting; had a solo exhibition at Barbara Farber Gallery, a solo exhibition and international representation by the Rotterdam based avant-garde gallery Bébert, and later held exhibitions with the legendary Belgium curator Jan Hoet.