Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information, including hours




Australian art

Contemporary art

View More:


The divisions and subtractions



Mikala Dwyer


1959 -


'The divisions and subtractions' belongs to an ongoing series in which Mikala Dwyer gathers together found and made objects and places them in a large open circle. Dwyer has said that her circle works are ‘a tight form of geometry, a completely closed system - a psychic fortress that can hold together disparate thoughts and objects’.

In this spirit, the circle magically unifies elements that might otherwise be difficult to associate, while highlighting sculptural qualities including scale, mass, density, transparency, colour and balance. Dwyer is interested in the occult and supernatural and there is also a sense of ritualistic purpose in the circular gathering, which suggests an aberrant sacred space. Finally, the circular arrangement establishes a threshold, which tests the viewer’s resolve to either remain an outside observer or become the focus of the sculpture’s attention by passing into the centre.

A community of artists worked with Dwyer on specific elements within this piece, including Stevie Fieldsend, Adriane Boag, Hany Armanious, Nick Dorey, Andre Bremer, and Matthys Gerber.




Materials used

copper, steel, elastic rubber, glass, acrylic, unfired clay, coins, glazed ceramic, ceramic, wood, canvas, synthetic polymer paint, rubber mallet, mosaic, plastic, paper, x-ray radiography paper, rocks, crystals, beads, textile, string, synthetic rope, rope, sound, dolly, plants and soil, plastic doll, concrete, wires, rubber tyres, PET plastic, wax candle, plywood, synthetic clay, pencil, black fibre-tipepd pen?


dimensions variable

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Contemporary Collection Benefactors 2018


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Mikala Dwyer

Works in the collection


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history

Referenced in 1 publication


Wayne Tunnicliffe, Susan Best and Helen Hughes, Mikala Dwyer: a shape of thought, Sydney, 2018, 17, 100, 102, 125-129 (colour illus., details).