The Sanchez Art Center Presents:
11th Annual 50/50 Show
August 30 - September 22, 2019
Juror: Catherine Clark, Catherine Clark Gallery
Preview Fundraiser: Fri, Aug. 30, 6 - 8pm / Open to public: 8 - 9:30pm
Take artworks home at time of purchase.
Gallery hours: Fri - Sun, 1 - 5pm & by appointment
Office hours: Tues - Thurs, 1 - 5pm
1220-B Linda Mar Blvd., Pacifica, CA 94044
This series of gouache portrait miniatures tells the #metoo stories of 50 individuals, myself included. The text accompanying the portraits describes each person’s experience with sexual harassment and/or assault, reproduced exactly as it was shared with me. [Please be aware that some text in this series contains descriptions of sexual violence and child molestation.]
The hashtag “#metoo” represents an online movement against sexual harassment and assault that uses personal stories to effect social change. For this project, I held an open call for portrait volunteers through my Instagram page: the only requirement for participating was providing a selfie and a #metoo story.
While the challenge of creating 50 works in as many days was an expected one, I could not have foreseen how this project would affect me personally. The #metoo stories I received through the open call were heartrending. Surprisingly few described sexual harassment, a majority described sexual assault or child molestation. In most cases, my first introduction to that person was reading about their trauma. How it feels to be entrusted with the painful experiences of perfect strangers remains impossible for me to express.
By contrast, painting each 1½” portrait was a calming process. Seeking likeness helped me see past the awful stories and focus instead on the individuals who survived them. Painting miniatures in general requires focus and care – in this case, the painting process marked another intimate point of connection between myself and my subjects.
My focused painting time also allowed me space to consider who the individuals were that felt comfortable sharing their histories with me, as a group: majority women, majority white. While my social media platform does likely appeal to the same group of which I am personally part of, I suspect that larger societal dynamics – those dictating who can share deeply personal information without risk of significant consequences – have also played a part in this result.
As I continue processing this series, I will carry with me the stories and faces I have come to know and care for. The story I personally chose to share as part of this project took the potential impact on my personal and professional spheres into account; there are countless others I choose not to share publicly. That this series is even possible is proof that too many have experienced sexual harassment or assault, including #metoo.