Mikala Dwyer

Mikala Dwyer’s practice is developed through a series of evolving projects, connecting personal biography, site-specificity and research into theories of the occult and alchemy.

Mikala Dwyer began exhibiting in the mid-1980s and has developed a distinctive and highly engaging international sculptural and installation practice that explores ideas about shelter, childhood play, modernist design and the relationship between people and objects.

Dwyer studied sculpture and sound art at Sydney College of the Arts. In 1984, she travelled to London where she studied at Middlesex Polytechnic until 1985. She completed an MFA at UNSW Art & Design in 2000 and attended the Universität der Künste Berlin, Klasse Stan Douglas, on a Samstag Scholarship 2005-2007.

In 2016 Dwyer was awarded one of NAVA’s inaugural Visual Arts Fellowships funded through the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund. Her upcoming solo exhibition A shape of thought extends across four spaces at the Art Gallery of NSW and opens on 26 August 2017. The exhibition includes a major new suspended sculpture and spectacular levitating balloon work and continues to 4 February 2018.

Other solo exhibitions include In the head of humans, Hopkinson Mossman, Auckland (2016); Mikala Dwyer: MCA Collection, curated by Natasha Bullock, Museum of Contemporary Art, and The Letterbox Marys, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney (2015); the garden of half-life, University of Sydney Art Gallery, Sydney, Hollowwork, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne (2014); Goldene Bend’er, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2013); Panto Collapzar, Arts Project, Dublin (2012); SquareCloud Compound, Hamish Morrison Galerie, Berlin (2010); Mono Clinic, Hamish McKay Gallery, Wellington and Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History, Masterton (2008); Kunstraum, Potsdam, Black Sun Blue Moon, Hamish Morrison Galerie, Berlin (2007); I Maybe We, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, New Zealand (2005); and Art Lifts, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (2002).

Group exhibitions include Occulture: The Dark Arts, City Gallery Wellington, Wellington, Triple Point of Matter, Foundation Fiminco, Paris (2017); Riddle of the Burial Grounds, curated by Tessa Giblan, Extra City Kunsthal, Antwerp, Belgium (2016); Hall of Half-Life, Stierischer Herbst Festival, GrazMuseum, Austria, Saint Jude’s Leftovers (Your Thoughts in Lights), Stierischer Herbst Festival, Vordernberg, Austria, MAGNETISM, Hazelwood, Sligo, Ireland, Square Cloud Compound, Encounters, curated by Alexie Glass-Kantor, Art Basel Hong Kong, Hong Kong (2015); You Imagine What You Desire, curated by Juliana Engburg, 19th Biennale of Sydney, Cockatoo Island, Sydney (2014); Das Ende des 20. Jahrhunderts. Es Kommt Noch Besser: Ein Dialog mit der Sammlung Marx (The End of the 20th Century. The Best is Yet to Come. A Dialogue with the Marx Collection), Hamburger Banhof, Berlin (2013); Plus ou Moins Sorcières 2/3: Epreuves Ritualisées, Maison Populaire, Paris (2012).

Dwyer’s works can be found in leading public collections, such as the National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney), Museum of Contemporary of Art (Sydney), National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne), Monash University Museum of Art (Melbourne), Heide Museum of Modern Art (Melbourne), MONA / Museum of Old and New Art (Hobart), UQ Art Museum, The University of Queensland (Brisbane), Auckland City Gallery (Auckland); and prominent private and corporate collections.

She is also a highly regarded art teacher in Sydney and has held positions as lecturer at Australian National University (1991-92), University of Western Sydney (1995-1999) and Sydney College of the Arts, The University of Sydney, (1999-current).

In this video, Dwyer chats to NAVA about the main challenges of being an artist, the importance of having confidence in yourself and visiting places where they take art seriously.

Production: Dominic Kirkwood

Director of photography: Yanni Kronenberg

Photo: 2015 Artspace One Year Studio Artist Mikala Dwyer, by Jessica Maurer.