About Ms Mikala Dwyer

Using all her signature materials, Mikala Dwyer creates compounds that take the viewer across boundaries of time, space and geography. Full of uncertainties and contradictions, Dwyer’s complex installations never lend themselves to definitive interpretations. Her work has been described as 'profoundly sociable'; she asks viewers to come in, participate, and find their own meanings. Dwyer's installations are like 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. Her cubbyhouse architecture is fabricated from bits and pieces of urban humdrum, abducted from their commonplace duties and let loose in her immersive installations. She sets up open-ended conversations that draw our attention to the unseen – to invisible materials such as helium, or the voids between her forms, but also to hidden histories and our own highly personal relationships with magic, memory, sexuality and ritual. While playful and exuberant on their surfaces, her works almost always have something darker beneath the surface.

For more than 20 years, Mikala Dwyer has pushed the limits of installation, sculpture and performance, establishing herself as one of Australia’s most important contemporary artists. She has had solo shows at major institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney and the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa. She has also participated in the Sydney and Adelaide Biennales. She was included in Face up: Contemporary Art from Australia at Hamburger Bahnhof in 2003, and Verso Süd at Palazzo Doria Pamphilj in 2000, curated by Franz West. She has had several residencies, including at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, 200 Gertrude Street, Melbourne and Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff. She has received numerous scholarships, grants and awards, and her work is held in public collections throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Selected publications


The Silvering, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Sydney, 2011

17th Biennale of Sydney, Cockatoo Island, 2010

Outland(useless architectures floating grounds), Hamish Morrison Galerie, Berlin, 2010

Moongarden, Wairarapa Museum of Art and History, Wairarapa, 2009

Outfield, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, 2009  

Swamp Geometry, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne, 2008

Monoclinic, Hamish McKay Gallery, Wellington, 2008 

Black Sun Blue Moon, Hamish Morrison Galerie, Berlin, 2007 

The Addition and Subtractions and the Hanging Garden, Kunstraum, Potsdam, 2007

The Shape of Thoughts Own Making, Peloton, Sydney, 2007