Marté Szirmay was born in Budapest, Hungary and arrived in New Zealand in 1957. She studied and the University of Auckland School of Fine Arts where she graduated DFA (Hons) in 1968, and in 1970 gained a Teaching Diploma from Auckland Secondary Teachers College.
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; knowing 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. She 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. Two basic methods are employed in creating her works; the lost-wax casting technique for small pieces and welded sheet metal for the majority of her large works.
Marté Szirmay has been represented in ARTIS Gallery since 2012 and over the past six years has participated in group sculpture shows, including the Auckland Art Fair. Her works have also been exhibited at the biennial Sculpture in the Gardens exhibition at Auckland Botanic Gardens. Szirmay was named the curators’ choice for the McConnell Family Supreme Award for Sculpture in the Gardens 2019/20. The judges praised her work Contained and Protected for demonstrating superior skills of craftsmanship as its expressed her concerns for the fragility of nature and humanity’s abuse of it.
Marté is also a founding member of the Medal Artists of New Zealand (MANZ). ARTIS will hold an exhibition for this Group every two years – the next show ‘Two Faced’, opens on 19th March 2019.
Marté Szirmay has work in public and private collections throughout New Zealand and in Australia, USA, Canada, Britain, Hungary and Sweden. A work is currently on display in Newmarket, Auckland.