Mikala Dwyer: A Shape of Thought

Exhibition Overview


Square cloud compound
Square cloud compound, Mikala Dwyer

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is pleased to announce A shape of Thought, an exhibition of new and recent works by Mikala Dwyer, one of Australia’s most significant contemporary artists.

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

Dwyer’s works incorporate raw materials and found objects in inventive and unexpected ways that transform their architectural settings. For A shape of thought Dwyer co-opts both the everyday and the fabulous – floating 150 silver balloons high above the Gallery floor, installing an elaborate suspension of fabric shapes held aloft by stockings, and building a large circular sculptural gathering that includes Perspex crystal-like structures.

Art Gallery of NSW director Michael Brand said A shape of thought follows Julian Rosefeldt’s Manifesto as the second in a new series of exhibitions for the Gallery that present new and recent work by significant Australian and international contemporary artists.

“The Gallery is committed to presenting the work of the most exciting artists of our time. Mikala Dwyer has made an exceptional contribution to sculptural practice and her work is always unexpected and mind-expanding,” Brand said.

“Mikala first exhibited at the Gallery as part of Australian Perspecta 1993 when her work memorably dressed our vestibule columns in gaudy sequin fabric and covered the floor in rubber bath mats. So expect the unexpected – A shape of thought is bound to change your perspective of the everyday,” Brand added.

Wayne Tunnicliffe, exhibition curator and head curator of Australian art said the exhibition is thought-provoking and even challenging at times.

“Mikala Dwyer’s sculptural practice is richly inventive. She creates objects and installations that are both playful and provocative, reimagining familiar materials and what they say to us about the world in which we live,” Tunnicliffe said.

“Dwyer’s works are often beguiling in their colour and profusion, but haunt us long after we encounter them, as the ideas they embody unfold over time,” Tunnicliffe added.

Dwyer said she is delighted to see such a significant collection of her works presented at AGNSW.

“It is exciting to see my new sculptures on display alongside other works from recent years; it is rare for an artist to be able to view bodies of work together,” Dwyer said.

“A shape of thought continues my explorations into the consciousness and liveliness of the matter that surrounds us,” Dwyer added.

(Photo: Mikala Dwyer, Square cloud compound, 2010, Museum of Contemporary Art, purchased with funds provided by the MCA Foundation, 2015, Photo: AGNSW, © Mikala Dwyer)

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