Mikala Dwyer

A Sun, A Flower, A Bee

17 Sep – 05 Nov 2022

Since the mid-1980s Mikala Dwyer has developed an internationally recognised sculptural, performative and installation practice that explores ideas of shelter, childhood play, modernist design, personal biography, magic, and the occult. For her debut exhibition with 1301SW, titled A Sun, A Flower, A Bee, Dwyer has created two distinct bodies of work, both paintings and sculptures, that continue with a number of these familiar themes.

At the centre of this show and much of Dwyer’s practice is an engagement with symbols. Specifically, her attempt to define what a symbol is, how it acts as a form of language and how it is representative of both something passed and something yet to be. Thinking of ancient hieroglyphs and contemporary emojis as the same language and part of an unchanging story, Dwyer has utilised hard-edge painting as a containment device to hold a new group of symbols found in this exhibition. A Bee, A Painting, A Sun, A Stickbug, A Moth, and A Flower are all presented through Dwyer’s own hard-edged painterly symbology, equally so they are present in her sculptural works — A Sculpture and A Forest.

The sculptural works in A Sun, A Flower, A Bee present the now definitive Dwyer material of moulded plastic, and like with her paintings, these works are also containment devices, devices that define space. Held by armatures — reminiscent of her hard-edged lines in acrylic — these “empty sculptures” attached to rubber and carabiners float within their self-made forest, while one has fallen like rotten fruit to find itself back with the symbols of creatures perhaps birthed from its form.