Niamh Hurley is an Irish artist who works in a variety of media from watercolour to fabric and beads.
Born in Dublin in 1942, Niamh began her career as a graphic artist before turning to full-time painting. She had her first solo show in 1982 in Dublin’s Hendriks gallery. This was followed by two further shows at the Hendriks gallery in 1984 and 1987. She also took part in a group exhibition at the Concept Gallery in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia in 1986. In recent years she has chosen to show her work privately.
Niamh’s work has always been characterised by her fascination with colour. Dreams are a major influence, but her paintings have also been informed by family and personal history. Events in the world around her are often referenced, like the figure of a girl in childbirth attended by a nun-like figure that appears in a work from the early eighties. Nature abounds, from the birds that appear in all their magnificent colour to the volcanoes and orange trees that feature in her watercolours. Her painting ‘The Search’ is held by the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) as part of their permanent collection.
From the beginning of her career, Niamh has worked in textiles as well as paint. She won 2nd Prize at the National Crafts Competition in 1980 for her quilting. The following year, she took 1st Prize in the same competition. She also won a silver medal from the Crafts Council of Ireland. She later turned to wall-hangings, and in the early 2000s she began to create jewellery using coloured beads. Her necklaces and bracelets, composed of intricate representations of flowers, were the centrepiece for many years of the annual ‘Woods at Work’ exhibition, which showcased the woodwork her family is known for. Many of her brothers and sisters, as well as several of her nephews, are master furniture makers.