Week 4- Artist Conversation-Jan Talmadge Davids

Exhibit Information

Artist: Jan Talmadge Davids

Exhibition: To Hold a Letter to the Light

Media: Paperclay Porcelain Slip, Underglaze, String, Interactive

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

Website: In Progress


About the Artist

Jan Talmadge Davids is working towards her undergraduate BFA in ceramics. When she was younger she always wanted to major in the arts. Being creative and creating works of art has always been her passion. However, when she was younger her parents did not support her dreams. They believed it would not benefit her to major in the arts. So she went on to marry and raise a family, pushing her dreams to the side. However, it later struck her that she could not give up on her dreams. She wanted to lead a good example for her daughter that you should pursue what you love. She came to CSULB in order to pursue ceramics.She finds going to school as an older student has opened her mind more. It is also an interesting experience that she is able to go through this chapter in her life with her daughter as she too is coming towards graduating.


Formal Analysis

This exhibit is an interactive piece where viewers can actually hold and inspect the envelopes. Each envelope is made from a wet tissue, clay technique which forms a clay ceramic version of a thin envelope. On every envelope there is a different message written on them. Some are hidden within the folds and you may use a flashlight to shine through it and see the hidden message. Each message has at one point been a thought of Davids which she has then written down. Every envelope is suspended in the air by a string tied to the beams in the ceiling. There are also “trash” envelopes that appear to be crumpled and tossed in the corner of the room. Each envelope that is suspend have a very different and unique shape to them. Some have broken jutted edges, while others are smooth. All are very thin and delicate.

Content Analysis

Davids wanted this exhibit to hit readers and have them become more in touch with the thoughts they keep in the back of their minds. Every written message in the exhibit have come from Davids herself. Whether they be in depth thoughts of equality in the world or her opinions on a TV show, she collected these thoughts over a long period of time. Displaying these inner thoughts for all to see give the viewer an opportunity to see what actually goes on in another human’s head. After all, all we ever know is what another person says but a million other thoughts are still rushing through their head. This emphasizes how we must be more understanding of one another. We never know what another person is going through. It also brings the idea to never deem an idea not important. Many people go through many thoughts but keep them to themselves because they feel they do not matter. It is freeing to let all thoughts out and embrace it, not being afraid of how others will see you.


My Experience

I was first drawn to this specific piece because it was something I could walk through and interact with. I thought the idea behind it was very unique and moving. It is also something everyone can relate to. Every one has thoughts circling in the back of the minds that are chosen to never be spoken. It is a liberating idea to have them all displayed for every viewer to experience. It began to make me realize how much thought I put into what I say. I leave a lot of thoughts to myself due to the idea another person may not find it interesting or relevant. However I should not have to care what others think of my thoughts. My thoughts belong to me and I have the freedom to think and believe in anything I choose to.


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