The Whimsy Ideals of Samuel Jernigan

Artist: Samuel Jernigan
Exhibition: Weight of  Whimsy and Ideals
Media: Ceramics
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
Instagram: @samueljenri

Recent 2015 fall graduate, Samuel Jernigan expresses his interest in alienation, belonging, loneliness, and absurdities through his exhibit, Weight of Whimsy and Ideals. Although his work may prove otherwise, he claims to have not considered himself an artist up until about 3 years ago. Coming from a music background, he believes that getting into art, specifically ceramics, was just a natural step to being curious. This started around the year 2000. When he is not creating art, you can catch him reading a comic, looking for fresh produce at a farmers market, or ending his day with a beer.

Jernigan’s focus is ceramics, however, he utilizes a mix of materials such as wood, steel, and paint in his work. The variety of materials used in his art expresses his interest in interchangeability and how the meanings of art can change based on the materials used. He also makes it a point to use minimal color on certain pieces despite the amount of animation shaped through his sculptures. This also accentuates the interchangeability of his work because with a lack of color and use of many materials, perception can be different for everyone. With extremely round shapes and bright, yet minimal colors, his art was user friendly for all but carried diverse meanings for his audiences.

This exhibit explores the ideas of belonging and loneliness along with accentuating the importance of interchangeability. Jernigan mentions that many of his pieces can be put together but because they may be separate, different meanings are explored making what could be, unknown. He also speaks about his interest in comic books. Although those don’t necessarily inspire his artwork and animation, the comics inspire the idealization of his work through absurdities and its ability to change fixed identities. Despite all the thought that goes into his art process, he also enjoys making pieces that are entertaining for himself and can make him laugh.

I personally enjoyed this exhibit a lot. I felt that his pieces made me nostalgic of my childhood yet allowed me to interpret and delve into the different meanings behind the pieces due to it’s complexity with materials and minimalist colors. It was particularly interesting to find out that Jernigan was interested in expressing ideas of belonging and loneliness because it really got me thinking. How do these pieces explore these ideas? I was then able to connect those ideas to the nostalgic feelings his sculptures gave me along with his interest in interchangeability.This then made me connect those ideas with personality types and how people change, especially when young, based on their interests in belonging and at times, need for loneliness. Although this may not be his intent, his work really had me thinking about more than just the playful figures and definitely piqued my interest.


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