Week 4: Artist Conversation

Artist: Jan Talmadge Davids

Exhibition: BFA Show

Media: Paperclay porcelain slip, Underglaze, and String

Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dr. Maxine Merlino Gallery

Website: None

Instagram: @jantalmadgedavids

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Jan Talmadge Davids is an undergraduate student at California State University of Long Beach who is in pursuit to get her bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in our school’s ceramics program. She’s in her mid 40s and has been doing what she loves for 6-7 years now. Ironically she was originally an Anthropology and Business major. Ms. Davids currently lives in Huntington Beach, California.

Her piece “To Hold a Letter to the Light” was undeniably eye-catching at first sight. The moment I saw what looked to be letters hanging from the ceiling I instantly wanted to see what the piece of artwork was. What looked to be letters and envelopes hanging from the ceiling by string was actually ceramic paperclay porcelain which allowed the pieces to be heavier and stay still even when there was a breeze. The porcelain was applied with underglaze which allowed it to be written on with a glaze applicator. Each piece appeared bent and curved as a real piece of paper would, making it look very realistic. The pieces that posed as paper were her general thoughts and feelings, however, the pieces that posed as envelopes were unreadable unless held to the light. That is where the flashlights came into play. In order to read what was inside, one had to hold the flashlight behind the ceramic so that the glazed writing could be read.

The beauty was not only in her hand writing but in the what each paper or envelope said. The “envelopes” were a lot more personal and deeper than the “paper”. She did such an amazing job that at times it felt like I was reading my own thoughts.

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