Born 1959, Sydney. Lives and works Sydney.
Mikala Dwyer’s practice is predominantly installation-based, in which she constructs idiosyncratic, personal spaces within the conventional architecture of the gallery, using materials that have a strong association with the body. Her interest in working within and against architecture is a reaction to the imperatives of ‘good design’ – Scandinavian modernism in particular. Her 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 qualities of materiality or immateriality, and display an intentional lack of finish.
Dwyer has been exhibiting internationally since 1982 and was selected for the MCA’s inaugural Primavera exhibition in 1992. Her recent solo exhibitions include the garden of half-life, University of Sydney Art Gallery, Sydney (2014); Goldene Bend’er, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2013); Drawing Down the Moon, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (2012); Costumes and Empty Sculptures, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (2008); Moon Garden, Aratoi Museum, Masterton, New Zealand (2008); The Addition and Subtractions and The Hanging Garden, Kunstraum, Potsdam (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 De Rerum Natura, Studio La Città, Verona (2014); Future Primitive, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne (2013); and a major site-specific installation on Cockatoo Island for The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age, 17th Biennale of Sydney, Sydney (2010). Other group exhibitions include Almanac: The Gift of Ann Lewis AO, MCA, Sydney (2009); The Ecologies Project, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne (2008); Lost and Found: An Archaeology of the Present, TarraWarra Biennial, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville (2008); Mystic Truths, Auckland Art Gallery, New Zealand (2007); Den Haag Sculptuur 2007 De Overkant/Down Under, The Hague (2007); High Tide, CAC Vilnius and Zacheta National Gallery, Warsaw (2006); Face Up: Contemporary Art from Australia, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2003); Contempora 5, Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne (1999); OrientATION, 4th International Istanbul Biennale, Istanbul (1995); and Australian Perspecta, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (1993).
Dwyer’s work is held in various public collections, including major state galleries and university collections in Australia, and Auckland City Gallery and Waikato Museum in New Zealand.