NOTE: Artist Jan was unavailable during class time for she had a class that ends around 4 or 5. Her two friends were there in her place and provided some information so some information may be omitted or some may be inaccurate.
Artist: Jan Talmadge Davids
Exhibition: Not applicable
Media: Paperclay porcelain slip, underglaze, string
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Maxine Merlino Gallery
Website: Not applicable
Instagram: (Inactive) @jantalmadgedavids
About the Artist and Formal Analysis
Jan Talmadge Davids is a student of CSULB in the School of Art’s Ceramics Program. Her gallery located at the Maxine Mulino gallery is called “To Hold a Letter to the Light” which consists of paperclay letters both outside and and inside of an envelop; audience are provided flash lights to read the letters inside the envelop by shining them with light. All of the them have writings of her private thoughts that provokes a certain emotion and wonder to the audience leaving them questioning what Jan Talmadge Davids was going through when she thought of this.
Some of these letters tell a portion of her story and some are metaphorical or rather exaggerated such as the talks of her shooting or being dead – those are meant to be relatable thoughts that most audience have thought of at some point in their life. She used herself, her experiences, her own thoughts to show that people could learn about her perceptions in life as well as her thoughts, dreams, and her overall journey in her life. One of her letters were for president Obama regarding a political advice she wants to give; another was about her experience living at a ranch and she loathed it. All of the letters at her gallery are meant to be private thoughts but by saying them out loud to someone, they will be able to relate or have a clue of what is going on in Jan Talmadge Davids’ life.
My personal experience in this gallery is that I was able to relate to Jan Talmadge Davids’ thoughts regarding giving people advice such as the president; I could also relate to when she wrote that exaggerations about shooting people and death, they were not meant to be literal, there is some story behind it that made her think of death especially towards herself and someone. I have once experienced a lost of a friend, and my thoughts resorted to either disappearing forever or marks a death of a portion of my compassion within me. Jan Talmadge Davids’ idea behind her art made me reflect in my life and decide whether I should fully trust someone in my life and tell them my story, both my past and present, so they could hear it out and relate. That or I would tell them just so someone could remember me. Jan Talmadge Davids’ “To Hold a Letter to the Light” had a major impact in my life, and one experience that I would remember and carry forever.