Artist: Samuel Jernigan
Exhibition: Weight of Whimsy and Ideals
Media: Ceramics, Ceramic Paint, Sculpture
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
About the Artist: Samuel Jernigan is a graduate student that graduated in Fall 2015 and is apart of CSULB’s Ceramics Program. He has been sculpting for 15 years now, but he did mention he had some few years off. Sculpting and ceramics is his field of expertise. Growing up, Jernigan was raised in an agricultural environment around central California. Also, at some point in his life he lived in his car; it was for approximately 3 years. His hobbies consist of collecting high pigment paint pens, reading comics, and riding his bike. His work explores the ideas of loneliness, belongings, and alienation.
Formal Analysis: Most of Jernigan’s work revolves all around ceramics and ceramic painting. His Exhibition, Weight of Whimsy and Ideals, his sculptures vary from different sizes, and are all sculptured by ceramic and ceramic painting. Most of his work in the exhibit resembles kids toys and cartoons with bright and light colors, which gave them a natural look. In order to keep that natural look , he used smooth edges and textures to bring the work to life. In the exhibit there was also that feeling that most of these sculptures seem unfinished or have missing pieces. That is because his work revolves around being interchangeable. Meaning that one part from this sculpture can be interchanged and inputted into another set of work. Only a few colors were noticeable at his gallery, which a of red, orange, green, blue, and yellow. The theme was very clear, a sense of nostalgia. His inspiration to create these works of art came from kids toys he would see at real markets. Making it clear that his work consists of bringing together different abandoned toys and making them interchangeable.
Content Analysis: Weight of Whimsy and ideals explores a theme of loneliness and an unfixing of an idea or identity. In his work, the toys seem as if they have not been played for a while, therefore giving them a sense of loneliness. The toys appear to have been left behind from their previous owner and to never be used or noticed again. It brings us back to a time where we had no worries about the real world. It makes you think about how the real life is and how us as human beings have no more time for things we used to do as a child. But the exhibit shows that there is still a bit of kid inside of everyone. The theme of loneliness brought me back to one of my favorite childhood movies, Toy story. Especially in the Toy Story 3, where Andy, the owner of the toys, is leaving to college and is leaving the toys behind because now its time to head into the real world. The other theme found in his work is unfixing an idea or the way people generally think. In this case, it’s of his work. This theme in a way contradicts the feeling of nostalgia. Jernigan knows that when people look at his work they assume its about contemplation of our childhood, but instead his meaning behind is that you can actually rearrange different things around in art and have a different meaning than the generalized (fixed) one.Which is why he includes his work with interchangeable pieces.
My Experience: When I walked into the gallery, I’ll be honest, I did not know what to think. At first I was confused as to why most of his work seemed unfinished and out of order. But after a while, I began to develop a sense of contemplation about my childhood. Then I noticed how these parts aren’t really finished or missing, they are interchangeable. It made me get an idea as to what is Jernigan’s meaning behind his art. I thought it meant now that we are older we leave old parts of ourselves behind in order to change for the real world as we grow up. We begin to think differently and start to not have time for things we did as youngsters. The interchangeable parts, I believed, resembled those old traits and characteristics we left behind. But because the parts are interchangeable, it gave a sense that there is room for some of our old traits to stay throughout our lives. You know, because everyone’s a kid at heart.