Exhibition:Weight of Whimsy and Ideals
Media:Metanna brand spray paint, ceramics
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
About the Artist
Samuel Jernigan just graduated from CSULB last fall with a BFA in ceramics. He is interested in reading comics, binge watching cartoons, playing music, and eating, but he especially loves coffee and beer. He said he starts every day with a coffee, and ends with a beer. When we asked Samuel what his work explores, he told us alienation and belonging are the primary ideas of this exhibit, and of most of his art. Another interesting thing about Samuel is that he just applied to UCLA and Alfred State Ceramics for their graduate programs. When creating this exhibit, Samuel would work on four of five pieces at a time because you can only mold the clay so much before it deforms. Because of this, he would start on multiple pieces, then come back and finish them later. So upon finishing the few that he started, it would take a span of a couple weeks.
As mentioned above, the majority of Samuel’s work is made from ceramics or spray paint. Occasionally he will use wood, steel, or paint, but his main focus is on ceramics. This work was unlike anything I have ever seen. What first caught my eye is that is was very brightly colored, mainly pastel colors. No two works were alike, he used a lot of heads with add ons such as the shoulders with the rings for a head. The work was smooth in texture and everything was three dimensional. A lot of his work was also large scale.
When you first walk into the gallery you get a sense of youth. His work resembled all children’s toys but with a twist. The artist mentioned to us that he never makes a sculpture that he doesn’t think is funny.This relates to his idea of alienation and belonging because he wants us to question the norms of society. These sculptures more than remind us of our childhood toys, but challenge our thinking. These aren’t your conventional toys, but you still get that feel of our youth, with an added pressure to resist hierarchy and let go of the ideals we have so strongly held onto. He wants his work to bring together communities, and push the boundaries of what we think is normal and acceptable.
Overall I loved this exhibit. This work was like nothing I had ever seen as an art form, with such a powerful meaning. Samuel put a lot of thought into this work, and I admire that because I think we should all give 100% of ourselves to our work. This generation that I have grown up with, is much more accepting and tolerant than generations past, which is why I think this work speaks to college students well. We are the next CEOs, congresspeople, and doctors who will shape the future. It is our job to experience new ways of thinking and doing things. I think that was Samuel’s hope in the exhibit, for college students to think back to their childhood, from where they began, and look forward to embracing what the future holds. Be the change. That’s what I got out of this powerful message.