Photo: Niamh Collins in Bristol, South West

Niamh Collins


Since graduating from the Royal College of Art, I have been concentrating on making abstract paintings, with an emphasis on a strong and distinctive use of colour. I am interested in the process of creating a painting, and how elements of accident and chance influence the outcome. As I work on each painting, I paint out and ‘edit’ details, until I am left with islands of activity within the picture. When making the work, I often use a basic printing technique, with clothing and textiles. At first this happened by accident, but as I progressed, I found I have become interested in the suggested conflicts this creates. One of these is the use of mass-produced and recognisable material in what is normally a means to produce exact copies, but by manipulation and visual editing, and the use of painterly techniques and skills, I can make unique and mysterious images. Another contrast is between the personal (I usually use old clothes, belonging to me and my family), and the impersonal – there is a suggestion of a three-dimensional human presence, but no hint at their identity, or of their context within the work. I am also considering the implications of working from/with photographs, and looking at other artists who use them as a source. As a student I was influenced by the 20th century abstract expressionists, tribal art and medieval manuscripts, but I have also been inspired by a wide range of contemporary artists, from Pipilotti Rist, The Wilson Twins, and Zineb Sedira through to Peter Doig, Gerhard Richter and Howard Hodgkin. Although my paintings are abstract, they usually have a sense of a landscape space, with sometimes a suggestion of an ‘urban’ landscape. I am interested in certain aspects landscape painting, and currently I am trying to find a way of combining both elements of my work in some new way. I don’t know exactly how this will happen, but by trial and error I will continue to develop my ‘personality’ as an artist.

Location Bristol, South West
Artforms / type of project Painting
Tags abstract, landscape, Irish

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