Marté Szirmay

b. 1946

Marté Szirmay was born in Budapest, Hungary and arrived in New Zealand in 1957 with her parents.

She graduated from the University of Auckland, Elam School of Fine Art,  in 1968. During her studies lecturer Jim Allen had encouraged her to major in sculpture rather than painting. In 1970 she gained a Teaching Diploma from The Auckland College of Education and began a career of teaching art in secondary schools and university programmes.

In 1969 Szirmay won the Smirnoff Sculpture award for a monumental outdoor piece rendered in curved, polished aluminium for Newmarket. The first large abstract work to be commissioned for the city. For the next ten years Szirmay continued to work with metal as her preferred medium and carried out a series of public commissions for institutions and corporations, most of these in aluminium or stainless steel.

Her work was influenced by her interest in the sciences, and she based 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’.

Two methods are employed in creating her works: the lost-wax casting technique for small pieces and welded sheet metal for most of her large works.

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.

See also:

Marté Szirmay, ‘Smirnoff Centenary Sculpture’ (1969), Newmarket, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland

Image: Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, Public Art Heritage Aotearoa New Zealand, 2021