Artist: Samuel Jernigan
Exhibition: Weight of Whimsy and Ideals
Media: Ceramic Clay, Spray Paint, Wood
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
About the Artist:
Samuel Jernigan is a recent graduate of CSULB (Fall 2015); he finished with a BFA in Ceramics. Jernigan is originally from the Bay Area. He has a tremendous drive and at one point was spending up to 16 hours a day creating his works of art, eventually leading to him living out of his car for a few years. We both share a common interest in nice pens, although his collection is much larger than mine. Jernigan’s hobbies include making music and reading comics, both of which play a role in his work. His work explores the idea of contradiction becoming contingent on each other.
My favorite parts of this exhibit were the materials and colors used. The clay gave every piece a soft and delicate texture, creating an environment reminiscent of childhood. The colors used were flat and/or pastel and quite vivid. Each piece was on a larger-than-life scale, everything was larger than its real-life counterpart. Weight of Whimsy and Ideals is very cohesive in both its placement around the gallery and the works themselves. There were no harsh angles or sharp turns, just soft, curved lines.
Jernigan’s work is exploring the idea of alienation and belonging with a major inspiration coming from childhood memories. The pieces all stray away from societal ideals, another theme in his work. One piece in particular, “Unrequited” is a bust of a woman in a dress with colored rings replacing her head. The idea being that a bust does not have to follow the rules of the decades of busts before it. He mentioned that nothing needs to have a fixed meaning because everyone interprets things differently and has their own feelings.
Jernigan’s work is cartoonish, but does not make a fool out of itself. It is not rambunctiously loud or silly. He made a point to mention that he takes his work seriously but still likes to have fun, hence names such as, “If You Teach a Fish a Cookie”. Everything looked so soft to the touch and toy-like, all of it existing in what felt like a childhood playground. I’ve always loved toys and I still have an appreciation for them to this day. I remember having numerous toys as a child that I would live out imaginary scenarios through, only to see my brother create his own scenario using the same toys. This concept was always so interesting to me and because of that, this exhibit resonated with me.
**I have included only two pictures: one of my favorite piece, “Pigeon Chested in Cut Offs”, and an attempted picture of Samuel Jerrigan. For the entire class period there was an enormous circle around Jerrigan which prevented me from catching a clear picture of him. He is wearing a light blue shirt and has students staring at him.