Wk4 – Artist Conversation – Jan Talmadge Davids

Exhibition Information

Artist: Jan Talmadge Davids
Media: Ceramics, Installation
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery
Facebook: Jan Talmadge Davids
Website: Not available at this time

About the Artist

Jan Talmadge Davids is a middle-age woman with a family, and she is from Huntington Beach California. Jan is back to school to pursue her Bachelor degree of Fine Arts, and she is in Ceramic program of the School of Arts. Jan has been involved in ceramics for around 7 years, and she has learned to play with clay and used it to express her thoughts.

Formal Analysis

Jan Talmadge Davids’ exhibition was at Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery of School of Art, CSULB. Entering the gallery, the light was dim, and there were many pieces of letters clamped by clips individually, hanging with strings from the ceiling. The lights were also hung from the ceiling. The letters were in different sizes and types: some were teared from notebook, some were just white and blank paper, and some letters were in sealed envelopes. And all of the letters were with black or blue writing on them. When looking closer, all the letters were made of clay. We could read everything from the letters, even for the sealed envelopes, flashlights were provided to view through the envelopes. The letters were wrote about different things from daily life, and they were very personal and privately thoughts.

Content Analysis

Jan Talmadge Davids’ exhibition brings private thoughts to public, just like the name of this exhibition “To Hold A Letter To The Light”. The content in the letters are randomly but deeply from deep minds, like personal diary. This exhibition gave viewers a chance to spend enough time to look inside the person’s mind, thoughts, perceptions, lives, journey, and experiences. Jan thought every one has their own thoughts and own version of truth, and this exhibition made Jan think of her childhood at the times, how things were hidden from her, and how far we actually fight for equality for every one. Jan also discussed the stereotypes of women which influenced her. And the letters reminded her with her life experiences and some important moments. Now she has opened up her life to public and let everyone to look inside.

My Experience

This exhibition seem excellent for me at the beginning, hanging dim lights and white letters, and all the letters were made of clay which could be kept for long time. But when I read on the letters, I felt that they were all personal letters which contained private thoughts and experiences, so I asked the permission to read it again. I felt guilty like I was reading a person’s diary and peeping on her privacy. It is a very good idea that open up individual’s thoughts to public, and let viewers know different thoughts and different experiences, let people to open their minds to others and make the life much easier.



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