BMO Arts Competition winner pours heart into art

Queen’s BFA grad turns vulnerability into art and wins BMO award

Artist Lindsey Wilson stands beside her artwork at an exhibition showcasing Queen's BFA student art.
Student artist Lindsey Wilson stands beides her artwork at an exhibition showcasing the art of Queen's BFA students, during her last year in the program.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

Lindsey Wilson, the provincial winner of the BMO Art! Student Art Competition, says her winning piece was deeply personal.

Wilson, who graduated from the Queen’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program earlier this year, created a statue piece, entitled Murmur I, as a part of her final year in the program.

The piece consists of a drooping, white ceramic heart left open to reveal knitted and crocheted arteries spilling from one end. The arteries spill from the edge of a white surface, with a single thread of yarn hanging as if it were forgotten.

(Lindsey Wilson's winning statue piece titled Murmur I, inspired by a difficult during her last year in the Queen's BFA in which her father underwent open-heart surgery.)

As she was deciding which direction to take her work that semester, Wilson says her father had open-heart surgery.

“That was a really jarring and significant time,” she said.

“His recovery process was longer than expected and it was difficult on all of us. My advisor suggested making work that drew from that experience, so I did.”

During the final exhibition of the works she produced at Queen’s, Wilson showcased this piece among others to faculty members and visiting artists. She was invited to enter Murmur I in BMO’s student arts competition.

“Not long later, I got a phone call from the curator for the competition. I remember looking at my phone and wondering who was calling me from Toronto, thinking it was so strange,” Wilson said.

Her piece won province-wide. As one of 12 regional winners, Wilson received $5,000 in prize money and the opportunity to have her work displayed at the 1st Art! 2015 exhibition. The exhibition will be held at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery in Toronto from October to December of this year.

“Winning in all of Ontario was huge. I didn’t expect the win at all. I was just grateful for the opportunity,” she said.

Despite having the piece so widely acknowledged, displaying that particular piece — a piece that exposed so much personal vulnerability and emotion — was something she had to get used to.

“I had a lot of trouble writing about it in the artist’s statement,” she said.

“But at the end of the day, it’s been helpful. I know I want to be honest with what I’m making, and this piece was definitely honest.”

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