Niamh Collins

Since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1981, I have been practising as a full time professional artist.

My work is concerned with representing the experience of landscape through colourful abstract painting.

I use a variety of unusual techniques, such as printing with Clingfilm, fabric, clothes, and other found objects

For the past ten years I have been visiting Grenada in the West Indies. The Caribbean colours have seeped into my work - the turquoise blues and greens of the sea, the brightly-coloured wildlife on land and under the sea, and the vividly painted houses and boats. I think the strong colours in my work have also evolved through experimenting with my images in Photoshop.

Alongside the abstract work I also work on more naturalistic landscapes from photographs (not included). These focus on wilderness (including Antarctica), and coastal places. While these seem very different from the abstract works, the two types of painting inform and influence one another.

Places or situations which seem to be idyllic and perfect on closer inspection turn out to have serious and sometimes frightening underlying problems and faults.

Also, in an individual life, a once comfortable situation can be overturned by unavoidable tragic events.

This can be reflected in my work by, for instance, painting over a landscape which had seemed bland, using rough gestures and abstract shapes, leaving glimpses of the original painting visible in little ‘windows’ to the past.

It can also be done by ‘defacing’ a painting which was becoming ‘pretty’ or decorative, using dark and ‘ugly’ colours, and harshly executed marks and gestures.

The challenge for me is to do this while maintaining the element of aesthetic visual resolution in the paintings




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