Week 4: Artist Conversation -Jan Talmadge Davids

Exhibition Information

Artist: Jan Talmadge Davids

Exhibition: To Hold a Letter to the Light 

Media: paper clay porcelain slip, underglaze, string

Gallery: Maxine Merlo Gallery

Website: none

Social Media: private Instagram

About the Artist

Jan Talmadge Davids is a CSULB School of Art student currently working on her BFA degree in ceramics.  She is returning to school after starting to pursue art in the last decade.  Currently, she lives in Huntington Beach, California, but she was born in Arizona.  She is in her 40’s and started in sculpture and moved to ceramics.

Formal Analysis

To Hold a Letter to the Light is an exhibition that includes paper and envelopes hanging from the ceiling.  The pieces of paper and envelopes are ceramic.  They have black writing on them.  Some of the letters and envelopes have hidden words in them and are revealed by flashing a light through them.

Content Analysis

The contents of the letters in the exhibit are autobiographical.  The letters tells stories of her life.  The low lighting of the exhibit gives it an intimate atmosphere as people wander and read the letters.


Because the letters are experiences from Jan’s own life, I feel that this exhibit is a very personal experience.  Jan is letting the viewers glimpse very private and intimate thoughts.  While walking around the exhibit, I was reminded of looking around a dark room with a flashlight in hand.  When you flash the light around a dark room, you get to see a glimpse of the things in the room.  I feel that this exhibit is like looking in a dark room, except the things kept in the room are Jan’s experiences, feelings, and deep thoughts.



  1. Hi Amy, your tag is close… but wrong… the correct tag is “merlino-gallery”

    All the correct tags are in the syllabus:

    The deduction for an incorrect tag is 20-9=11… but instead, how about this… I’ll temporarily give you a “1”… if you could change the tag to merlino-gallery, and then LMK when it’s fixed, then I can give you full credit.

    Thanks Amy!


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