Mikala Dwyer awarded Melbourne Art Foundation Artist Commission

Mikala Dwyer editorialThe Melbourne Art Foundation has unveiled the anticipated 2014 Artist Commission, a major sculptural work by Sydney-based artist Mikala Dwyer, entitled The weight of shape, 2014. The Artist Commission is presented at the Melbourne Art Fair and will be subsequently gifted to the collection of the National Gallery of Australia.

Anna Pappas, Chair of the Melbourne Art Foundation said “The Melbourne Art Foundation Artist Commission provides a significant opportunity to a living artist to realise a large-scale artwork for the Melbourne Art Fair.”

“This significant initiative has major benefits for both artists and the broader public and we are delighted to unveil this work by Mikala Dwyer at the Melbourne Art Fair.”

Mikala Dwyer’s work, The weight of shape, balances between ceiling and floor, hovering in and around the viewer’s field of vision. The work is a physical demonstration of thought patterns: at once geometric and organic; synthetic and natural; opaque and translucent; slick and porous; flat and voluptuous; at some moments static and then unexpectedly and uncontrollably mobile.

The weight of shape provides the audience with the opportunity to explore the interior of the mind and physically negotiate and rearrange the distinct departments of thinking. The swinging objects can be understood as fragments from the fertile zone of consciousness.  The sculpture is created from a range of materials including acrylic, fibreglass, copper, ceramic, bronze, brass, stainless steel, steel and rope.

For over three decades, Dwyer has challenged the limits of sculptural practice, through installation, performance, video and photography. Her boundary pushing installations marked a turning point in Australian art practice in the 1990s.

Borrowing ideas from science, architecture and mythology, Dwyer was vital in asserting the move toward all-inclusive sculpture, asking her audience to participate and find their own meaning within the magic, memory, history, sexuality and ritual she evokes.  Dwyer’s practice is developed through a series of evolving projects, connecting personal biography, site-specificity and idiosyncratic modes of research into theories of the occult and alchemy.

Mikala Dwyer’s recent major solo exhibitions include Goldene Bend’er at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, 2013; Panto Collapsar, Project Arts Centre, Dublin (touring to other venues in Ireland), 2013-14; and Drawing Down the Moon, the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, 2012.

Recent group exhibitions include 19th Biennale of Sydney, You imagine what you desire, 2014; The End of the 20th Century. The Best is Yet to Come, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, 2013–14; Future Primitive, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, 2013–14; NETWORKS (cells & silos), Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne, 2011; Monanism, Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania, 2011; The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age, the 17th Biennale of Sydney, 2010; and Before and After Science, the Adelaide Biennale of Australian Art, 2010. Dwyer is represented by Anna Schwartz Gallery in Melbourne and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery in Sydney.

The Melbourne Art Foundation Artist Commission is awarded biannually, for an ambitious installation created by a prominent Australian artist. Previous artist commissions including Ian Burns (2012), Jon Campbell (2010), Peter Hennessey (2008), David Griggs (2008) and Michael Parekowhai (2006).

The Melbourne Art Fair runs from Thursday 14 August until Sunday 17 August 2014. For more information, visit: www.melbourneartfair.com for details.

Image: Mikala Dwyer, The Weight of Shape, 2014, Acrylic, fibreglass, copper, ceramic, bronze, brass, stainless steel, steel and rope, Dimensions variable – courtesy the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery.