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Patricia Hurl, b.1943

Study for The Kerry Babies Trial1987

Hurl’s work is of its nature political, drawing her influences from feminist artists and activists in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. This work was originally shown in 1989 as part of Hurl’s solo exhibition at the Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, Dublin, titled The Living Room Myths and Legends. The works shown there responded to the ongoing abuse of women within Irish society, in particular referring to the Kerry Babies Trial and the 8th amendment of the constitution in 1983. The exhibition highlighted the ongoing involvement of the Church in determining the lives of women in Irish society. Study for The Kerry Babies Trial, 1984, shows a row of clerical figures, their faces swathes of paint. They brood in an anonymous lurk of powerful menace. The obscuring of male faces is a technique which is apparent in other works by Hurl, depicting the anonymity and power displayed by Church and Man in deciding their fate. Hurl’s recent practice has developed into performance and film in collaboration with Therry Rudin producing an on-going body of work on the subject of folk narrative. Her practice is also currently exploring issues of isolation and loneliness, often associated with ageing.

MediumMixed media on paper
Dimensions Unframed, 120 x 90 cm
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Purchase, 2021
Item NumberIMMA.4333
Copyright For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].
Image Caption
Patricia Hurl, Study for The Kerry Babies Trial, 1987, Mixed media on paper, Unframed, 120 x 90 cm, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Purchase, 2021

For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].

About the Artist

Patricia Hurl b.1943

Irish artist Patricia Hurl studied at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, and Dun Laoghaire School of Art and Design. Hurl was a lecturer in Fine Art Painting at the Dublin Institute of Technology and was a member of Temple Bar Galleries and Studios. Together with artist Therry Rudin, she established the Damer House Gallery in Co Tipperary in 2012. A major retrospective of her work took place in IMMA in 2023. She received the Pollock Krasner Award in 2023.


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We would like to advise our visitors that our Main Reception area is closed for renovation from 22 April until mid-June.  A temporary reception is open on the ground floor next to the original main entrance. While we prepare to open our next exhibition Hilary Heron: A Retrospective on 24 May, there are two exhibitions to see Derry Film & Video Workshop and Self: Determination: Artists Commissions. IMMA’s gardens and café are open to the public.