Nicky Hirst

‘Nicky Hirst is known for her subtle and elegant work. She produces intricately handmade drawings and installations that incorporate commonplace and domestic materials designed to draw attention to the idiosyncracies and psychological dimension of a given site or context. Her works have included trompe l’oeil wallpaper and paper cutouts of ornamental mirror frames, which play with the illusions of interior space and the complexities of perception.’ – Kerry Duggan and Ceri Lewis, ‘ShowCASe’ Contemporary Art Society catalogue, 2005

‘These objects pack power, but writing about it is well nigh impossible. Her work looks back at Surrealism but what is really noticeable is that Hirst understands metaphors. She can summon and control them. This is a rare gift. What she seems to do is this: she suggests a number of possible metaphors, but fulfils none of them. At the same time she ensures that they are coherent one with another. This sets up a kind of magnetic field of associations in which (the viewer feels) the imagination is held, as if suspended, or floating. And in this way the work’s subject becomes not just the connections, but the very idea of connection itself. This in turn becomes metaphorical: it is about language, and human relationships.’ – David Lillington, Time Out

‘The non-intrusive subtlety of Nicky Hirst’s work is a mixture of morality and pragmatism – recession aesthetics. Her concern is to alter perceptions not produce expensive objects. And stealth can be more effective than confrontation, a whisper more persuasive than a shout. Clarity and elegance informs her work. The idiosyncracies of a space – its history and usage and design decisions that have affected it – provide the stimulus for an oblique visual poetry.’ – Sarah Kent, ‘Peripheral States’ catalogue

‘Hirst succeeds in making the themes of dislocation and displacement function at several interrelated levels, allowing the work to acknowledge fully the different contexts in which it operates: historical and political as much as emotional and formal. This integrated approach is achieved through a deployment of the mechanics of empathy, of involvement and disengagement, via minimal interventions into the commonplace and everyday.’ – Sotiris Kyriacou, Art Monthly


Nicky Hirst’s work has been purchased both for the Contemporary Art Society’s Special Collection Scheme (1998-2005) for museums and for the Distribution scheme, featuring in ShowCASe Preview at SLG in 2004 and ShowCASe at Talbot Rice Gallery and City Art Centre, Edinburgh in 2005.

In 2008 Hirst was co-curator of Contemporary Art Society’s ARTfutures 2008 held at Bloomberg SPACE, London. Hirst was also featured in ARTfutures 2007 and 2005.