Wk #4: Artist Conversation – Jan Talmadge Davids


Exhibition Information:

Artist: Jan Talmadge Davids


Media: paperclay porcelain slip, underglaze, string

Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Maxine Merlino-Gallery

Website: n/a

About the Artist

Jan Talmadge Davids is an artist from Huntington Beach, California. She is currently an undergraduate working towards her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics at California State University Long Beach. She took ceramics for about six to seven years.

Formal Analysis:

Maxine Merlino- Gallery is among the smallest gallery in the Schools of Art. Hanging from the ceiling are low, dim lights shining on envelopes and letters. Although there were envelopes and letters, they weren’t actually made from paper. The material used were paper clay, porcelain slip, and underglaze attached from a piece of string and clipped with clothes pins. Some letters were closed in envelopes, while others were left open.

Content Analysis:

This is a piece showcasing an autobiography of Davids life in such a unique and fascinating way. The messages written on the paperclay are pertaining to her deepest secrets and wishes to insightful experiences she had in her life. They are profound and key moments she had in her life.

My Experience

I was really impressed by the overall art piece. From a distance, I thought it was very creative and cool, like something I would see from Pinterest. When I walked in, I began looking at all the messages, being very careful not to touch anything. I didn’t realize that we were welcome to touch and interact with the displays. I saw some people holding up flashlights to the enclosed envelopes reading Davids secrets. It was really interesting because my initial thoughts were, “This is so cool and fun!” Then suddenly, I realized its’ seriousness. That’s when I took a step back and absorbed everything. I realized how intimate the gallery was; I was constantly in elbow space next to the person next to me. The lowlights were dim and the messages were at eye-level. In addition, her messages were real and personal.


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