Miriam Austin (b. 1984) New Zealand, lives and works in London, UK. She graduated from the Royal College of Art with an MA in Sculpture in 2012 and in October 2019 will embark upon a AHRC Funded PhD in Fine Art at the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford.
Austin’s work explores the relationship between ritual, myth, ecological fragility and embodiment. On the basis of her research into feminist fiction, magical rites and rituals associated with the landscape, Austin works to address the entanglement of privilege, oppression and representation that accompanies Western interest in “native” or “folk” religions and cultures. The result is a sensitive and wide-ranging visual, sculptural and performative language that points to subtle links between the gendered body, local mythology and environmental disaster.
Spanning between sculpture, installation, video and performance her work aims to describe the complex ecologies connecting cycles of birth and death, desire and becoming, the mythological imagination, and the politics of difference. In this way, her practice has emerged as a platform for the exploration of a diverse but intricately connected set of themes, spanning religious history, the contemporary meaning of the sacred, intersectionality, postcolonialism and post-humanism.
Austin’s current sculptural practice involves working on a large scale with wax, rubber, metal and organic materials such as flowers and fish scales, producing work using casting processes that are intricate and complex. The work intervenes with bodily form, morphing skin and the human structure with objects from nature. Working across video, performance, sculpture, painting and mixed media, she uses materials that appear alive on the body, imbuing her work with the unpredictability and transience of nature.
Recent solo exhibitions include: Future Primitive, Gossamer Fog, London (2019); The Oval Window, Gerald Moore Gallery, Eltham (2019); Gimmel, Bosse and Baum, London (2018); Artist of the Day, Flowers Gallery, London (2018); Andraste, Alma Zevi, Venice, (2018); Lupercalia, Bosse and Baum, London (2016); Prosthetics for Hostile Contexts, Grove House, London (2015). Recent group exhibitions include: On the Heights, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, (2017); Lexis Over Land, Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, Cornwall, (2017); Domusdei (performance for Art Night), ICA, London (2016); We All Have a Problem with Representation (screening), The Showroom, London (2016); Sculptors Drawings, Alma Zevi, Venice (2016); Feminist Practices in Dialogue, ICA, London (2015); Groundwork, New Art Centre, Salisbury (2015); A Sense of Things, Zabludowicz Collection, London (2014); Elements of Religion, Bold Tendencies, London (2013).