In 1971 and 1972 Szirmay was the Frances Hodgkins Fellow at the University of Otago, Dunedin and was awarded QEII Arts Council Grants in 1973, 1978 and again in 1982, the year during which she was the visiting artist at the Johnson Atelier, Princeton, New Jersey. In 1983 Szirmay again obtained the coveted status of visiting artist, this time at the Governors State University, Illinois, USA.
Since 1969, Szirmay has had numerous solo exhibitions within New Zealand and internationally she has participated in Group exhibitions in London, Budapest, Helsinki, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Sweden, Crete, Spain and Australia. She is represented in private and public collections throughout the world.
Szirmay works mostly in series; a series is complete when the artist realizes that she has begun to explore another direction. The new series grows organically from the old – her creative process is metamorphic.
Szirmay bases her sculptural language on natural forms: shells, eggs, seed pods, fossils, bones, trees and fern fronds. For her, sculpture is a means of ‘paying homage to the organic’.
Her works vary considerably in size. She has created architectural sculpture, sculpture for city squares, wall reliefs and free-standing objects ranging from person-size to hand-size.
One of Szirmay’s works, a large aluminium sheet metal sculpture, Newmarket Smirnoff Centenary Sculpture, has been on display in Newmarket, Auckland, since May 1969.
Two basic methods are employed in creating her works; the lost-wax casting technique for small pieces and welded sheet metal for most of the large works.