She has completed a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) at La Trobe University, Melbourne 1997, a Bachelor of Art (Fine Art Ceramics) at RMIT University in Melbourne, 1987 and a Graduate Diploma (Ceramics and Glass Conservation and Restoration) at West Dean College in the United Kingdom, 1990.
She has exhibited internationally and extensively in Australia. Solo exhibitions include iPROTEST, Sullivan+Strumpf, Art Basel Hong Kong (2013), Plausible Deniability, Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney (2011), Penny Byrne: Commentariat, Deakin University Art Gallery, Melbourne (2011) and Penny Byrne, Mantelpiece, Linden Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2006). Byrne’s work was featured in the group shows Clash: Contemporary Sculptural Ceramics, Newcastle Region Gallery, Newcastle (2011), Thing: Beware of the Material World, Art Gallery of Western Australia (2009) and Horror – Come Darkness, Macquarie University Art Gallery (2009). In 2010 Byrne was the subject of the documentary for the ABC TV program Artscape.
Byrne was the first contemporary artist to have a solo exhibition at the Museum of Australian Democracy, Old Parliament House, Canberra. The show ran for 18 months in 2011-12 due to popular demand.