Panto Collapsar by Mikala Dwyer
Thursday 11th April – Wednesday 8th May
Opening Reception: Tuesday 16th April at 5.30pm
Featuring a talk with Tessa Giblin, Curator of Visual Art – Project Arts Centre and artist Orla Barry.
Panto Collapsar by Mikala Dwyer in situ at Project Arts Centre, 2012
Wexford Arts Centre, in partnership with Project Arts Centre, is delighted to host Panto Collapsar, a solo exhibition by Australian artist Mikala Dwyer. Dwyer is one of Australia’s most established and influential contemporary artists, based in Sydney. This exhibition was first shown at Project Arts Centre in Dublin in 2012 and was the first time the artist created an installation in Ireland. Dwyer works with a variety of materials and objects, bringing them together into what has been described as a ‘community of objects’.
Panto Collapsar is both a continuation of Dwyer’s ongoing interests in the occult, the natural world, science, maths, materials and objects, and a response to Ireland; its heritage, culture and current economic situation. The title of the exhibition brings together two ideas, Panto suggesting a sense of theatre, comedy and audience participation and Collapsar, a term used to describe the movement of a collapsed star into a black hole, an impending collapse.
Science, maths and geometry play important roles in Dwyer’s work. She is fascinated by the physical world, and the sciences that help us to understand it. The lower gallery hosts a group of objects on plinths titled The Additions and the Subtractions. The artist has made collections of objects like these, a number of times for different exhibitions, and including different objects and materials in different combinations, often using this same title. The plinths are arranged around the room, in an elliptical shape, leaving an empty space in the center, like a stone circle, standing quietly marking out a space, or as if the objects themselves are holding a séance.
The objects themselves include everyday items, many of which reflect Ireland’s pub culture, including bottles of whiskey, glasses, coins, clay ashtrays and cigarettes. Many of the objects reference gold in some way, such as the whiskey’s golden liquid and the Marlboro gold cigarettes and, for this exhibition, Dwyer was particularly interested in exploring gold as a material. The whiskey and spirit level also suggest puns on the ‘spirits’ this séance may be trying to evoke. These ‘golden’ objects are teamed with rough clay, coins, semi precious stones and the plinths on which they stand are painted in bronze, silver and gold colours. The clay numbers suggest numerology, and the superstition and meaning we give to certain numbers. The plastic ‘bubbles’ both define empty spaces, and act as windows that distort the world. A projected light onto a hinged panel allows visitors to angle light around the circle of objects, referencing Newgrange and stone circles, designed to capture the solstice sun.
The Silvering floats in upper gallery, made of sliver helium balloons and mylar, a type of reflective polyester film. Where The Additions and the Subtractions takes a circular formation enclosing an empty space in the centre of the room, The Silvering creates a floating ceiling that moves and inhabits the gallery inhabiting, and also divides the space into above and below. The balloons themselves enclose spaces containing nothing, or apparently nothing – only invisible gases, and take the form of circles or rings, like ‘O’s or zeroes, a recurrent shape in the artist’s work. This work refers to the Maori myth of creation, from the artist’s native Australia, in which the sky father and earth mother embrace.
Accompanying The Silvering in upper gallery is The Collapzars, four shapes that suggest puppet-like figures, or costumes, with large misshapen golden masks for heads, the circular hole, echoing the circular balloons, enclosing empty space, and gold material hanging beneath like robes. Their title suggests they are perhaps born from a collapsing star, or the meeting of sky and earth that The Silvering references, the moment of creation, the big bang.
As a material, gold suggests both current economic value, with the subject of the economy being a very relevant topic within Ireland at the moment, and its’ archaeological and cosmological history. Gold has recently been reported to have its origins in outer space, having been introduced to our planet through meteorite impacts four billion years ago. It has literally come from exploding stars, as has all life on this planet.
Mikala Dwyer lives and works in Sydney, Australia. She completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Sculpture/Sound) at Sydney College of the Arts in 1983, and a Master of Fine Arts at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, in 1993. Recent solo exhibitions include Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne, 2011; Hamish Morrison Galerie, Berlin, 2010; Roslyn Oxley Gallery, Sydney, 2009; and IMA, Brisbane, 2008.
The exhibition will run in Wexford Arts Centre from Thursday 11th April to Wednesday 8th May, 2013. For further information on the exhibition please contact Catherine Bowe, Visual Arts Manager on +353 (0)53 9123764 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Workshops and talks can be arranged upon request and tailored to suit the requirements of your group. Our new Saturday Art Club running in the galleries from 11am-12pm, will give older children the opportunity to explore the work on display in the galleries and learn about the technical aspects of art-making while working with practicing artists.
Originally curated by Tessa Giblin, Project Arts Centre, Dublin
Project Arts Centre on Tour
Panto Collapsar was originally commissioned by Project Arts Centre and the tour has been made possible with the support of an Arts Council of Ireland touring award and has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.