Wk 4 – Artist Conversation – Samuel Jenrigan

Exhibition: Weight of Whimsy and Ideals
Media: home-made clay, spray paint, pens
Gallery: Max. L Gatov Gallery West
Website: Cargocollective.com/samueljernigan
Instagram: samueljenri

About the Artist:
Samuel Jenrigan is a CSU, Long Beach alumni with a BFA in Ceramics. He graduated last year. Jenrigan grew up in Fresno, then the bay area. He worked fourteen to sixteen hours a day when in the BFA program, so renting a place nearby was easiest to keep his work pace up. The reason he chose ceramics as a career path is because he has a background in ceramic production. Jenrigan worked with ceramics in a job in central California and since then has stuck with the practice because it is what he knows and loves. When he is not making art, Jenrigan enjoys watching cartoons and reading comics amongst other things.

Content Analysis:
Jenrigan’s exhibition Weight of Whimsy and Ideals is meant to unfix the fixed meaning of abandoned children’s toys. Abandoned children’s toys are found to be nostalgic triggers to explore the feeling of sadness. Jenrigan does not feel this connection to the toys. He sees them as something other than memories, but as opportunities to create entirely new identities separate form their original meanings. Not only does the size throw these toy sculptures from their original meanings, but the combinations of different toys disconnect the meaning even further. These pieces are meant to be unreal ideas of portraits and are not meant to hold logic, leaving them as strange absurdities of what people would originally associate them with. This collection is meant to challenge the thoughts of people viewing it to see these objects as something completely different from what they know.

Formal Analysis:
Jenrigan’s collection is composed of all pottery made up of hand-made clay, which he made himself. Each piece is painted with spray paint and some are further decorated with pens. There are varying sizes of work which I believe hold different meanings from each other. The clay used is very smooth and very different from most clays I’ve seen, it appears to be very smooth, almost as if the sculptures were cast in plaster molds. Even so, some have intentional prints and indentations made during the sculpting process that creates a comparison two styles.

My experience:
I was not aware that this was a show cast with abandoned children’s toys at first glance. IN this way, the artist achieved his goal in separating these forms from their original meanings. Further, I feel the combination of these different toys brings out a more playful side in the strictly meaning-changing theme. It is absurd to see a set of rings on a headless doll neck, but nevertheless, it is whimsical, as the title implies. This is a strange sight of a child’s bedroom, from my point of view. Maybe it is the sight of a children’s room from the perspective of a teenager or an adult, because they can no longer understand the meaning or joy of these toys.

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