Artist: Jan Talmadge Davids
Exhibition: BFA Show
Media: Paper-clay porcelain slip, Under-glaze, String
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery
About the Artist
Jan Talmadge Davids is an undergraduate student obtaining a BFA in the School of Art’s Ceramic Program. Originally from Arizona, Jan came to Huntington Beach to pursue her art career. Aside from the current degree she is pursuing, Jan has obtained a bachelor’s degree in business. Jan had become interested in art about ten years ago, exploring her interest through sculpture. Although art was not evident to her in the beginning, she began to discover her interest in art by sculpting typical objects. Many of her life experiences have shaped and influenced her work which we now see in her piece.
Jan’s piece, To Hold a Letter to the Light, incorporates a variety of techniques encompassed on paper-clay porcelain slip and under-glaze. Jan wanted to create an interactive experience where her audience is able to obtain these private letters that have a secret message. In the “envelopes” and “papers” you could hold a light up to the material, which makes it translucent, and read the message, all of which were hand-written. Sometimes the message would be deemed “unreadable” or a phrase out off context, which work to set an unrestrained mood. Some pieces included torn edges or wrinkled papers, making the piece seem unorganized and more realistic. Incorporating strategic dim-lighting, Jan hung these letters and envelopes through the room on string and had a few “scraps” in the corner of the room.
Jan’s piece is a an intimate piece. Allowing her audience into her personal life, each and every message displayed on all the papers reflect an event she has experienced in her life. These messages reflect deep emotions that Jan has experienced and incorporates them into her piece by making the audience literally “look past the layers” to connect to these deeper implications. She wanted her audience to feel her raw emotions through the process of developing these thoughts on paper. The details in this piece make you aware that these experiences have had implications on Jan and were not simply some emotions scribbled on paper. Jan’s piece reflected a monologue that incorporated her personal experiences in her life, following “Jan’s Story.”
Synthesis/ My Experience
My experience with the art was an interesting one. I found it intriguing to have an interactive piece where we were able to walk around and admire the work in a tactile perspective. Finding such raw emotions was thought-provoking and awakening towards experiences I encounter. I have never thought about documenting some of my personal experiences. I can only imagine how it would make Jan feel to read back on some of these traumatic experiences. I feel it is a way to relive these experiences, but instead of trying to tap into these experiences as instances of sad events, they can be reflective of barriers you have overcome that have made you who you are today.