In these large banner-like paintings – 'Possession', 'Backdrop for Saint Jude', and 'Sigil for heaven and earth' (2015) – Mikala Dwyer conjures the origins of abstract art in the early 20th century, particularly the work of the Swedish artist Hilma af Klint (1862–1944) whose spiritualist beliefs and participation in seances led to some of the first purely abstract paintings. Dwyer calls on the diagrammatic nature of Klint’s work in devising her own paintings, referring to a genealogy of innovative women artists who have worked outside rationalist social and cultural norms. Biblical references to Saint Jude and the Virgin Mary also appear in sculptural elements that sit atop the draped canvases, in keeping with Dwyer’s longstanding interest in how the secular meets the mystical in contemporary experience. More obliquely, the works gesture to the transformative power of art.
synthetic polymer paint on canvas, IKEA bed, polyurethane, coins, stones, gems, Marys
dimensions variable :
a - banner, 795.4 x 214.3 cm, irreg.
b - bed, 80 x 196.5 x 104.5 cm
c - Mary 1, 17.5 x 5.7 x 4 cm
d - Mary 2, 15 x 6.7 x 5.3 cm
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of the artist 2018. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Not on display
© Mikala Dwyer. Courtesy Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery. Licensed by Copyright Agency
Shown in 2 exhibitions
Referenced in 1 publication
Wayne Tunnicliffe, Susan Best and Helen Hughes, Mikala Dwyer: a shape of thought, Sydney, 2018.