Light and the experience of living: Sarah O’Donnell’s work to be featured in MOA

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Sarah O Donnell, The Light is the Source of the Land, 2011. This piece features a rotating projectors that simulates the light of a lighthouse laminating the distant landscape. (Photo courtesy of the Museum of Art.)
Sarah O Donnell, The Light is the Source of the Land, 2011. This piece features a rotating projectors that simulates the light of a lighthouse laminating the distant landscape. (Photo courtesy of the Museum of Art.)

Some images are so universally recognized that they seem to have collective memories attached to them. The collective nature of these memories supplements our own. Sarah O’Donnell creates art that is both familiar and foreign to the viewer.

The MOA’s electronic gallery will open its doors Friday, April 4, to showcase the work of light sculptor and illusionist Sarah O’Donnell. The exhibition opening will prominently feature both “The Light is the Source of the Land” and “No Ghost” during the museum’s monthly First Friday events.

O’Donnell uses projectors that aim to create a false reality, which transports the viewer to another location and permits them to delve into an experience that is comfortable and yet not completely theirs.

“I make installations that immerse the viewer in a space created with projected light and images,” O’Donnell says in her artist statement. “At the core of my work are ideas about place, memory, home and how we come to know ourselves and our world through our experiences of it.”

Romy Cotten, the public programs coordinator of the MOA and the woman behind the planning of each First Friday event described “No Ghost” as “a projection of a door in a dark hallway with a little surprise.”

Sarah O Donnell, No Ghost, 2013. This video projection transports the viewer to the inside of a deserted building looking out on a ghost town. (Photo courtesy of the Museum of Art.)
Sarah O Donnell, No Ghost, 2013. This video projection transports the viewer to the inside of a deserted building looking out on a ghost town. (Photo courtesy of the Museum of Art.)

Cotten offered a description of “The Light is the Source of the Land” as “large rocks in the room with a projector that will spin around projecting what you would see if you were standing in the lighthouse.”

In addition to featuring O’Donnell’s artwork, the First Friday event will provide live music and free food for those in attendance.

To see O’Donnell’s work, attend the MOA’s First Friday event on April 4 at 7 p.m., or stop by the MOA during regular hours of operation between April 4 and August 9 and visit the electronic gallery.

The MOA is open Monday–Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free to all, and visitor parking is available in the parking lot located to the northeast of the building.

To learn more about museum events, contact a member of the museum staff at 801-422-8287, or visit the museum itself on North Campus Drive during hours of operation. More information is available via email at or via social media on Twitter @BYUMOA, on Pinterest or on Facebook.

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