Artist: Samuel Jernigan
Exhibition: Weight of Whimsey and Ideals
Media: Ceramics, Sculptures, and Paint
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
Samuel Jernigan is an aspiring sculptor who showcases his work at California State University, Long Beach. Originating from Central California, he graduated from CSULB last semester with a BFA. He spends a lot of time working on his pieces; even to the point where he once had to abandon his apartment so can work on his work 14-16 hours daily. Aside from being an artist, Jernigan is quite an interesting individual as he works for the farmers’ market, loves double chocolate donuts with nuts, and is even a victim of “binge-watching” various television shows. Jernigan’s ideas explore both belonging and abandonment- two opposing ideals. His inspiration comes from his experience at a flea market. As he goes there often, he noticed a set of “abandoned” toys from previous owners. There, he came to the inspiration to brings the scarps of abandoned toys “together”. From that, his inspiration of Victorian style art comes into play as his usage of two elements is molded into one.
Jernigan’s pieces comprise of abandoned scarps of toys combined into one entity. For example, one of his pieces is a hybrid of Cookie Monster, Kerropi, and various other iconic characters mashed into one. He uses his amazing ceramics/sculpture skills in order to create his pieces. The most intriguing part of his exhibit is the element of interchangeability. Some of his pieces are able to switch parts off with each other- making the combinations of his pieces seem infinite.
Jernigan’s ideas explore both belonging and abandonment- two opposing ideals. Combining two contrasting elements, he explores the absurdity with two opposing forces that constitutes life. The creation of “togetherness” roots back from “abandonment” as various scarps of toys are combined. He is able to execute his works with a sense of Victorian style art as his form (the formal bottom halves of the busts shows it). Because much of his works include a sense of interchangeability, his pretense comes with an open idea- allowing people to change the head of the bust.
Jernigan’s work allows me to see how two opposing forces such as abandonment and togetherness are able to coexist. I’m able to see the sorrow of abandonment of the toys yet also feel a sense of belonging as these scraps are revitalized into one entity. The paint not only emphasizes the revitalization of these toys, but also makes me consider that the bad also has its good (in this case, abandonment, can always find belonging). For example, the interchangeable busts suggest how one can always find their way considering that moving each part of a bust will always be replaced by another object to be “whole” again.