We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Backdrop for Saint Jude



Mikala Dwyer


1959 –

  • Details

    Media categories
    Painting , Sculpture , Installation
    Materials used
    synthetic polymer paint on canvas, ceramic, glass
    dimensions variable :

    a - banner, 835 x 209.5 cm, irreg.

    b - ceramic sculpture, 39 x 17 cm, irreg.

    c - glass rod, 149.8 x 1 x 1 cm

    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Gift of the artist 2018. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Mikala Dwyer. Courtesy Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery.

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Mikala Dwyer

    Works in the collection


  • About

    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.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 3 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

Other works by Mikala Dwyer

See all 8 works