About the Artwork

Mikala Dwyer has been creating installation-based artworks for over two decades. She often chooses materials that have a strong association with the body, and constructs idiosyncratic, personal spaces within the conventional architecture of the gallery. Her interest in working within and against architecture and in reaction to the imperatives of ‘good design’ is part of a radical deconstruction of the concept of the self and its objects.

These draped, wrapped, hanging objects and precariously erected structures invoke the psychic space of a provisional identity, like the recreational world of childhood (the cubby or playhouse) or a feminine aesthetic of excessive display and cover-up (fields of nail polish, sequins and stretched pantyhose). Bandaged and bolstered by cushioning layers, they often express a solicitude as well as a radical fluidity and tendency towards imminent dispersal and entropy.

In works such as Untitled, 1995, the loss of geometric rigidity is an anti-formalism in the tradition of the soft sculptures of Claes Oldenburg or the hanging felt forms of Robert Morris. Here the droopy, embarrassed, limp object has been transformed into an alternative idea of beauty as radically lightweight, synthetic and distinctly feminine (or perhaps trans-gender): primped and posed and pinned-together, these delicate blue organza creations are a girl’s night out, not a vehicle for transcendence.

If you’re standing in front of one of those [my] sculptures, and if it’s doing its job, you’ll be getting a bit of an identity crisis with it: you’re not quite sure where you begin and it ends.

Mikala Dwyer, 2008

Mikala Dwyer

– About the artist

b.1959

Mikala Dwyer takes a reactionary departure from the imperative for ‘good design’ – Scandinavian modernism in particular. Instead, Dwyer’s installations and sculptures are experimental and experiential architectures that play with the permeable and changeable nature of objects and our relationship with them. Her materials – plastic, fabric, plywood, plants and sound – are selected for their power of materiality or immateriality. Superstition and clairvoyance play a part in Dwyer’s installations; objects and their formation evoke an earthbound and extraterrestrial geology that extend Dwyer’s exploration of states of being.

Learn more

– View also

All
Works
Artists
A –  Z

Related Exhibitions

Volume One: MCA Collection

– Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) 2012

MCA Unpacked II

– Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) 2003

Mikala Dwyer

– Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) 2000

Education

In the library

In the shop