Vanessa Pooley was born in Norwich in 1958, and where she now lives. Initially taking her foundation course at Norwich School of Art she then preceded to a BA in Fine Art (Sculpture) at the School and a Post-graduate diploma at the City and Guilds School of Art in London. Vanessa has been making sculpture full time since 1982.
Vanessa has exhibited widely in the UK including at Southward Cathedral, the Café Gallery at Southwark Park and also twice at the Orangery in Holland Park (all London). Group shows including at The King of Hearts, Norwich; the Discerning Eye exhibition, Mall Galleries, London; Beaux Arts, Bath and The Castle Show, Norwich Castle.
Vanessa Pooley has found her own way of reinventing the human figure, so ubiquitous in art and particularly sculpture. Her work forges a link both to Henry Moore, the champion of the reclining female form in twentieth century sculpture, but also way back to ancient art and such famous pieces at the Willendorf Venus. In fact, the roughly hewn surfaces of her female forms look as if they could have been dug out from the earth. Her sculptural hero however, is Ferdinand Botero whose work can be seen at Broadgate behind Liverpool Street station – his figures seem to be on the point of bursting their fleshy bounds.
Her figures are sinuous and curvy, the breasts a prominent feature, particularly in the reclining women. She feels strongly that a woman need not, must not, strive after the thinness of the model, indeed that she can be "podgy and have short legs and still be gorgeous".