Dagmar Cyrulla’s new exhibition does not resemble the work that she set out to make at the beginning of the year. Recent Works instead tracks the first-hand experience of the artist living through a pandemic: the inevitable frustrations, the hour-long calls, the endless routines, the unexpected intimacies, the stifling limitations, and the raw successes. Cyrulla’s exhibition captures this kaleidoscopic cross-section. Her work renders the invisible contours of the human experience visible, affording these fleeting moments a permanent expression in art.In Recent Works, Cyrulla returns to her psychologically charged portraits of life. There is a humanity and candour to her paintings, which imbues them with an openness despite their specificity. To look at one of Cyrulla’s paintings is to sit in a state of comfortable silence, to have a sense of automatic intimacy, and to recognise some essential yet ineffable part of her subject. In one of her paintings, a nude figure lies curled on a bed, toes softly pushing into the mattress below; in another, two girls stare into a mirror and out at the viewer, while diligently washing their hands; in a third work, another nude leans over the edge of a bathtub, with a mobile pressed absentmindedly to her ear. These tableaux of life not only reveal physical interiors, but also their subject’s psychological dimensions. Cyrulla’s works strike at the base notes of our existence, arresting the nuance of our everyday, which we so often skirt over. The artist’s paintings and her sculptures are united by the empathic hand that slowly guides them into existence.While there is an ease to the viewing experience, it is perhaps unsurprising that Cyrulla’s process is far more demanding. In order to penetrate the human condition, Cyrulla must work and rework the pieces until she finds what she has been endlessly searching for. “There are very few works that fall off the brush,” she explains. “Even my sculptures are quite painterly. I’m always moving through the form, changing things, shifting areas.” Indeed, only a day after giving this very explanation, Cyrulla was back to reworking the faces of her work Hug (a delicate sculpture that almost exists as an artefact of a pre-Covid era, depicting two youths caught in an embrace). “If you’ve been working on something all day, all week, all month, you can’t see it anymore. You need fresh eyes,” Cyrulla says. “Sometimes you don’t know and you overwork it, and it ends up getting thrown out.” The artworks in Recent Works have all been forged in this furnace of concentrated effort, and have made it out the other side. They speak to our time – our quiet moments and our loud frustrations – but they also speak of Cyrulla’s unwavering pursuit of our common humanity.By Tai MitsujiDagmar Cyrulla trained at the Julian Ashton Art School and the New York Studio School before completing a Masters of Fine Art at Monash University (by scholarship) in 2009. Cyrulla also holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts from the University of Western Sydney. She has continually exhibited since 1988, winning numerous prizes and awards and has been a finalist in the Portia Geach Memorial Award and Doug Moran National Portrait Prize on multiple occasions. In 2017, her self-portrait ‘I Am Woman’ was Highly Commended by The Doug Moran National Portrait Prize. This year her work has been selected for the Kilgour Figuration Prize, the Shirley Hannan National Portrait Award, the Percival Portrait Prize and the Darling Portrait Prize.


Cyrulla_Stripped_oil on linen_61 x 70cm_framed 2020
Cyrulla_Multitasking V_oil on linen_40 x 40cm
Cyrulla Shuni oil on board 40 x 40cm
Darling Portrait Prize_Cyrulla_
Cyrulla_Reaching Out_oil on paper_46 x 41cm_0
Cyrulla_Grateful_oil on linen_91 x 122cm unframed
Sisterhood 1 of seven
Cyrulla_A few rooms_oil on linen_framed_40 x 40cm
Cyrulla_Alone_oil on linen100 x 93cm_unframed
Cyrulla_Another Day II oil on linen_40 x 40cm_framed_
Cyrulla_Choice II_oil on linen_40 x 40cm framed
Cyrulla_Ground hog day_bronze_110 x 30 x 30cm_1
Cyrulla_In search of an answer_oil on linen_40 x 40cm_framed
Cyrulla_Mesmerised_oil on linen_40 x 40cm_framed
Cyrulla_Multitasking IV _oil on paper on board_32 x 24cm_framed
Cyrulla_nude study for sculpture_oil on linen framed_66 x 84cm
Cyrulla_One day after the next_oil on canvas paper on board_61 x 86cm
Cyrulla_One Room Seven Months_oil on linen_40 x 40cm_framed
Cyrulla_Regular call to mum_oil on linen_40 x 50cm_framed
Cyrulla_Sisters II_oil on linen framed_40 x 40cm
Cyrulla_Sisters_oil on linen_26 x 30cm_master_0
Cyrulla_The Move_oil on linen_framed_76 x 61cm
Cyrulla_The Wait_oil on canvas_40 x 40cm
Cyrulla_washing hands ritual_oil on linen_framed_40 x 40cm
Cyrulla_Wendy Paris and Minerva_oil on canvas paper on board_framed_61 x 86cm
Dagmar Cyrulla_The Seamstress_
moving figure 30x14x14cm bronze not editioned-
seated figure image 3
The hug image 3_0