Personal as universal

Freshman year of college I took an astronomy class–being a visual thinker–the part that stuck with me most was the repeating geometry of the thing–the way the planets circulated around the sun, the way the sun was spinning around our local group, how our local group was spinning around the galaxy, and, as far as anyone knew, that just kept going on and on and on. My Junior year of college I took beginning Chemistry and was thrilled to see the same pattern repeated on an atomic level–a few years after I graduated from college they discovered quarks which danced along in a similar pattern. This thrill, the merging of the macro and micro order of the universe (or at least our experience of it) made a lasting impression.

Around the same time, I was surrounded by feminism, and remember the popular philosophy “the personal is political”

These two understandings, that the micro and the macro are part of a continuum, and the personal and political have effected my work.

Working on my MFA at CCAC my department head Clifford Rainey repeatedly cautioned me that my work was “too personal”. At that time it solidified a direction of my work–that the more inward I went, the more personal the focus of my work became, the more universal it would become.

During these covid times, everyone is understandably freaking out. Traumatized. As an American we personalize this experience. We have been raised to see our selves as separate individuals. That the pain of others is not our pain. That the enslavement of others does not impact our freedom. That the poverty of our neighbors does not deminish our wealth. I don’t believe it. I think we are all connected.

This is not the “color blind” BS i was subjected to as a child. When I was seven our school was racially and economically integrated and they way we were prepared was the adults taught us: We are all the same on the inside–we only look different on the outside. Clearly we are products of our experiences.

By focusing minutely on my emotional personal interior response to my expereinces, I hope my work touches others on a deep personal interior space.

I see this, my commitment to “personal” art to be a political stance against American individualism and hope the more personally specific the source of my work is the more universally relevant it becomes.

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