MFA Student Sara Lynne Lindsay Exhibits Her Performative and Sculptural Work Nationally
June 8, 2021
In room 3125 of the Jesse Knight Building, homemade dresses hang on every wall. A shelf holds jars of flowers and a green rocking chair sits in one corner—“My daughter’s chair,” said Master of Fine Arts student Sara Lynne Lindsay (MFA 2022). As a wife and mother of six children, the green chair is just one of the room’s symbols of how much her family intersects with Lindsay’s work as an artist.
“When my husband and I were both working towards our undergraduate art degrees at Utah State University, there were often days when we had to take our first-born baby to class. My husband would be rocking our son with his foot while using his hands on a project,” said Lindsay.
Mother and Daughter Themes
The dresses Lindsay makes are often a reflection of the relationships between mothers and daughters. Several of her dresses were recently displayed at Granary Arts in Ephraim.
“Eventually the daughter grows to be a mother and there’s this long chain of history of our mothers passing down things like the creation power. There is something really powerful about the sacrifice and nurturing of mothers,” said Lindsay.
One of Lindsay’s recent passion projects has been taking journal entries from her own ancestors and writing the words out onto her dresses.
“I have an entire journal from one ancestor and I feel like I understand her. My great-grandmother I don’t know as well — but she has shaped who I am through her choices just as much as someone I know more about,” she said. “Her experiences, though many of them are lost, are still a part of me.”
All of the dresses are dyed different colors using unusual materials like Kool-Aid, wax, rust and even hibiscus flowers. “Like the dyed dresses, experiences change you.” Lindsay said.“A really difficult experience can be really beautiful in the end.”
Beauty and Pain Through Art
Sara Lynne Lindsay recently completed a performance piece titled Taken Away, a project of Art in Odd Places 2021: NORMAL in New York City, curated by Furusho Von Puttkammer, with curatorial assistants Yasmeen Abdallah, Lorelle Pais, and Natalie Ortiz. This series of public art projects and performances was curated by Furusho Von Puttkammer. Lindsay used wax to invisibly inscribe a white dress with the names of Spanish Flu victims from the Manhattan neighborhoods surrounding the gallery space. She carried the dress through the streets, laying it down and rubbing the fabric with leaves, grass, and dirt from Manhattan’s green spaces. Where there was no wax, the organic material stained the dress. The wax resisted staining, leaving behind the ghostly white names of those who had gone before, each person slowly revealed through Lindsay’s labor. The names appeared one after another in a progressive spiral around the skirt of the dress—like the rings of a tree that show times of growth and atrophy.
“We haven’t talked about how many people were lost during the 1918 flu, but it was tragic and the pain they went through is similar to what we are seeing right now,” said Lindsay. “There is a lot of hope but there needs to be some mourning offered to those that died.”
This New York performance garnered Lindsay a mention in ArtNet, one of the contemporary art world’s most notable magazines. She was also received a local feature in The Daily Herald. Besides her performance in New York and the show in Granary Arts, Lindsay has also interviewed for the magazine Exponent II, had her video work exhibited as a part of the College Art Association’s annual conference, and participated in an exhibition at the College of Sequoias in California.
According to Lindsay, art can truly transform the world.
“We might walk away with a different interpretation than the artist was intending or even than the person next to us, but there is something beautiful about how art speaks to everyone personally,” said Lindsay. “You may not like what it says, but if you spend time with art, you can find some communication that can touch you in a way that words can’t.”
A Family Effort
Before moving to Provo to work on her MFA, Lindsay and her family of eight lived in Texas where her husband taught art at Texas Tech University. Lindsay has always considered herself a “full-time mom and a part-time artist,” but now that she is back in school, it’s a full family effort.
“I find that I have to read assignments to my husband to talk about and better understand them. My daughter edits my papers and I have children who come with me to collect flowers. It’s so great that my family has been here to support me. It’s like we are in school together.”
Lindsay will finish her Master of Fine Arts program at BYU winter of 2022, and she is grateful for the time and space the program has offered her to expand her art.
“I don’t usually want to show people my work. I like making it, but being in the program at BYU has put me in a situation to be vulnerable and to receive criticism and help. It has helped me to mature as an artist.”