Mikala Dwyer
The Sil­ver­ing

17th July – 13th August 2011
Anna Schwartz Gallery

Mikala Dwyer artic­u­lates the imma­te­r­i­al; sculpt­ing empti­ness, giv­ing charge to spaces, pro­vid­ing the intan­gi­ble with a plas­tic form. Crowd­ing the air­space of the gallery, a mass of O‑shaped sil­ver bal­loons drifts at will, loi­ter­ing across the ceil­ing. This float­ing island of mylar and heli­um enclos­es a part of the room that would oth­er­wise be con­sid­ered emp­ty space: the O‑shapes being the means of lan­guage to describe noth­ing. These objects are clouds, form­ing an atmos­phere; the zero stand­ing in for the void, but here a void with a substance.

A dense copse of wood­en struc­tures baf­fles the pas­sage of the bal­loons, keep­ing the zeroes cap­tive. Con­struct­ed in tim­ber, paint­ed, and dressed in found and fash­ioned trin­kets: a gleam­ing Madon­na by Joy Bye, ceram­ics made by Noriko Naka­mu­ra, the Lamp sculp­tures describe imma­te­r­i­al phe­nom­e­na. These sculp­tures are at once lights, bird hous­es, bird feed­ers, gal­lows or allu­sions to hang­man” games, post­box­es or non-fer­til­i­ty totems whose func­tions expand to include any­thing one might desire of them. Indi­vid­u­al­ly, their globes are either too dim or too bright to serve as sources of lit­er­al or ratio­nal light. These low-lux lights are more appro­pri­ate­ly asso­ci­at­ed with a mys­tic-sculp­tur­al enlight­en­ment, where straight­for­ward read­ings are fogged-up and con­ven­tion­al mean­ings dance, allow­ing new log­ics to emerge.

Notions of enlight­en­ment also cir­cle around the mor­ph­ing Square moon peep­ing and Alpha­bet for ghosts. Over time, the can­dles in Square moon peep­ing will dis­ap­pear — or rather they will shape-shift, from the cast shape of the can­dle into the dripped piles of a wax paint­ing’ onto the mir­rored per­spex. Alpha­bet for ghosts — a set of 46 paint­ed wood­en boards, each bear­ing one char­ac­ter from the alpha­bet or dig­its 0 – 9 — promis­es every pos­si­ble com­bi­na­tion of words and num­bers between the options yes’ and no’; a giant oui­ja board from which to sum­mon all of the answers to our ques­tions about space and mate­ri­als. Cre­at­ed by col­lec­tive Alter­beast (Dwyer, Tina Have­lock Stevens, Car­la Cescon) with Rolande Souliere, the pres­ence of oth­ers with­in Alpha­bet for ghosts is not lim­it­ed to col­lab­o­ra­tors. Sculp­tural­ly and lin­guis­ti­cal­ly, the works in The Sil­ver­ing invoke souls from anoth­er realm.

A spir­it lev­el hang­ing promi­nent­ly from Neck­lace for wall (cop­per) alludes to the pres­ence of unex­pect­ed or unseen vis­i­tors. The shrine-like Neck­laces include diverse objects of dif­fer­ing mate­r­i­al worth and per­son­al val­ue, the two not nec­es­sar­i­ly con­nect­ed. Dwyer’s Neck­lace for wall sculp­tures adorn the gallery as archi­tec­tur­al jew­ellery’, giv­ing new sig­nif­i­cance to assump­tions of a giv­en space.

The pair of video works, made by Dwyer in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Justene Williams, invoke the spir­its of Cock­a­too Island, where these works were made. Red Rock­ers and Cap­tain Thun­der­bolt’s Sis­ters show the artists engag­ing in a repet­i­tive but joy­ful chore­og­ra­phy of defi­ance against the his­to­ry and char­ac­ter of that place.

Rit­u­al­is­tic and incan­ta­to­ry, Mikala Dwyer’s sculp­tures are rich in asso­ci­a­tion. The Sil­ver­ing is a col­lec­tion of works beguil­ing in form and elas­tic in mean­ing. Named after the process of mak­ing glass sur­faces into mir­ror, the exhi­bi­tion is indeed reflec­tive, each work pro­vid­ing space for the inter­pre­ta­tion of com­bi­na­tions of objects and ideas.


Mikala Dwyer

The Sil­ver­ing, 2011
Mylar, helium
Dimen­sions variable

Mikala Dwyer

Cap­tain Thun­der­bolt’s Sis­ters & Red Rockers, Two chan­nel stan­dard def­i­n­i­tion video
Chan­nel 1: 1 hour, 8 min­utes and 40 sec­onds, chan­nel 2: 1 hour 14 min­utes and 27 seconds

Mikala Dwyer

Neck­lace for wall (sil­ver), 2011
Ster­ling sil­ver, shell, wood, mod­el­ling clay, ceram­ic, leather, turquoise, moon­stone, steel, copper
210169 cm

Mikala Dwyer

Neck­lace for wall (cop­per), 2011
Cop­per, spir­it lev­el, horn, ceram­ic, poly­car­bon­ate, steel, brass, leather
210227 cm

Mikala Dwyer

Square moon peeping, 2011
Per­spex, glass, candles
90134.5123 cm