Exhibitions / 27 January


Show Time: 11.00am - 8.00pm
Mikala Dwyer
Curated by Tessa Giblin
‘An exploded and bewitched house with a floating roof’ – this is how Australian artist Mikala Dwyer describes her solo exhibition, an exhibition that marks the first time her work will be shown in Ireland.

Dwyer ascribes deep symbolic meaning to the objects and artifacts she works with, evoking them as spiritual signifiers and using them to herald a community. A significant Australasian artist, Dwyer’s art work is increasingly relevant to a younger generation of artists who have emerged in Dublin in recent years. The installation will include a variation on one of her most recognizable and personal circle accumulations of sculptures, as well as an actual floating ceiling.To coincide with Mikala Dwyer’s exhibition, Project Arts Centre will inaugurate a new experimental portal – the Grotto – with an installation by Richard Proffitt (UK): with We Sell Soul Richard Proffitt will work with the idea of the cabinet as a ‘kiosk’, a personalised space, and a psychedelic cabin full of hippie memorabilia, tropes of counterculture, the occult and Vietnam paraphernalia.
we are stardust (billion year old carbon)
we are golden
Mikala Dwyer invests her objects and materials with such potential, that when the installations or accumulations come together they can resemble anything from a gathering or theatre set to the detritus of a black-magic ritual séance.Dwyer’s new installation for Project Arts Centre, Panto Collapsar, might be many of these things or, indeed, might be none. The artist might be guided in many different directions, but in the end the decisions are not entirely Dwyer’s alone. There are materials to be listened to: do they want to be worked, transformed, moulded, coloured or destroyed? There’s scaffolding or baseline to consider: is it a tinny looking structure or a large booming mass? And there are others to consult: the clairvoyant who might provide some insight to what a sculpture already knows it wants to be; the musician whose simple lyrics might be a key to the door or just a simple distraction; and the artist’s assistant – a helper, a muse, or an artist herself.Panto Collapsar, the title of the exhibition, leads us to believe that the engine at the centre of our existence (the metaphorical star) is likely to collapse into a black hole in an action of buffoonery, mimicry and with audience participation. While my money would be on that not exactly happening, the sense of the exhibition will certainly remember the hysterical splendour that the annual panto has come to promise. Every good pantomime needs a semblance of storyline, which Dwyer’s installation may inhabit, if only obliquely. There will be semblances of gold sensing, allusions to the facts and fictions surrounding gold and its geological, mythological, or newly reported extra-terrestrial origins (supposedly introduced by meteorite impacts 4 billion years ago). Panto Collapsar might thus be called a micro-economic folktale.The elements that will build and grow like a garden of unearthly delights are essentially a community and, as such, are totally dependent upon each other. When Dwyer brings objects, artefacts and materials together in a group formation, it is as though she’s asking them to speak together of the future and of the unknown – as the artist puts it: to ‘shore themselves up against everything they’ve lost.’ This resonates in the exhibitions, revealing a sense of togetherness and communication amongst the individual pieces that are set up as though in conversation with each other: content with their own company; a close-knit community of objects that the spectator observes from the outside. This world, shaped by beautifully modelled things and sculpturally organised spaces, is also something of a playground, or as Edward Colless writes:at least playgrounds for an alien species, or for some fantastic mutation of the human race. They’re fun, and funny, if in an unnatural and unearthly way. This is a world inspired by the sort of wicked humour that prompts poltergeists to hurl crockery across dining rooms or suspend furniture in mid-air.
Hovering above a circle formation will be a sky filled with shimmering silver shapes, threatening to descend upon the skinny golden shapes that rise from the ground beneath it.
In the New Zealand M?ori story of origin, at the beginning of time there was emptiness. There was no light and no darkness. Nothing existed. M?ori call this Te Kore (the Nothingness). Ranginui, the god of the sky and Papatuanuku, goddess of the earth appeared in this nothingness, and while locked in a firm embrace bore many children. Desiring their freedom and to feel the force of the sun, the children wrenched the sky mother and earth father apart, led by Tane, god of the forests, who propped up the sky with his towering wooden poles.

Dwyer’s golden baseline, or ‘superstitious scaffolding’ will populate the void between the hovering canopy of silver, floating ‘O’ shapes, marking the territory that for the sacred time of the exhibition will be a place protected by natural forces – dark, light, cosmic, and comical.
Mikala Dwyer is one of Australia’s most important contemporary artists, one whose work has influenced generations of younger artists in the South Pacific. Her work is playfully mischievous while being deadly precise in its activation of form, and consistently presses at the limits of the potentiality of things – to be more, other than, or contradictory to what we might expect. She is also expert at harnessing or investing essential energy matter around objects, but in the end it barely makes a difference. The effect is to leave you feeling as though you’re in the presence of something mystical, which has temporarily come together before falling apart again. To ritualise, and to create a community of forms through her circular groupings, Dwyer sees the potential to give soul back to things that are dead.
Mikala Dwyer born Sydney, 1959. Lives and works in Sydney. Mikala Dwyer completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Sculpture/Sound) at Sydney College of the Arts in 1983, studied at Middlesex Polytechnic in London, UK, in 1986, and completed a Master of Fine Arts at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, in 1993.
1980- 83 BVA Sydney College of Art
2005-7 Samstag Scholarship. UDK Berlin( Klasse Stan Douglas)
2012 (forthcoming)
IMA Brisbane, Queensland
Anna Schwartz gallery Melbourne
AIR Public Art Commission Project, Brewery, Sydney
Square Cloud Compound, Hamish Morrison Galerie, Berlin
Outfield, Roslyn Oxley gallery, Sydney
Mono Clinic, Hamish McKay Gallery, Melbourne
Costumes and Empty Sculptures, IMA, Brisbane
Aratoi Museum ,Masterton ,NZ
The Addition and Substractions  and the Hanging Garden, Kunstraum, Potsdam.
Only One and a Bit Days to Go, Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney
Art lifts, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Wellington City Gallery, NZ
Mikala Dwyer, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney
Colour Baazar, Heide Museum of Art, Melbourne
Networks and Cells, Monash Museum of Art, Melbourne
Alterbeast, Penrith Regional Museum.
YK3 Melbourne Biennale
Art Forum Berlin, Rosyln Oxley 9 gallery
Ich Wicht, Kunstraum , Potsdam
Before and After Science, 2010 Biennial of Australian Art, Adelaide
Alterbeast, Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne
Sydney Biennale, The beauty Of Distance:Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age. Cockatoo Island
Zeigen. Audio Tour through Berlin, Karin Sander. Temporare Kunsthalle Berlin
Almanac: The Gift of Ann Lewis AO, MCA Sydney
Verge Gallery and Tin Sheds Gallery, Sydney; Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide
TarraWarra Biennale 2008: Lost and Found, An Archaeology of the Present, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Victoria
Common Space, Private Space, VCA, Melbourne
Axis Bold as Love ,Video Salon., CAPC Bordeaux.
Mystic Truths, Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland, NZ
Den Haag Sculptuur 2007 De Overkant / Down Under, The Netherlands
High Tide, Zacheta National Gallery, Warsaw
2009 Fellowship Australia Council grant
2005 – 07 Samstag scholarship. UDK Berlin
2005 National Sculpture Prize Exhibition

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. With many thanks to Temple Bar Gallery & Studios for their support of the exhibition.


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