Candy Jernigan

i kept thinking about this book lately and pulled it out today to look through — this retrospective of Candy Jernigan’s work never fails to inspire me, and there are so many aspects of it that feel timely right now.

Jernigan died in 1991 of liver cancer, and eight years later this book was released as a collection of her work and almost as a memorial to her personality. it showcases scavenged collages, installation pieces, paintings, and drawings. there are scientific, specifically forensic, archeological, and mathematical, natures to her work. like her collections of various things found on the streets of nyc include two pieces called “Found Dope” I and II, wherein she collected discarded drug paraphernalia; one of them is accompanied by a map showing numbers of where each “exhibit” was discovered. she kept travel journals which contained “any and all physical ‘proof’ that [she] had been there … anything that would add information about a moment or a place, so that a viewer could make a new picture from the remnants” — including smudge palettes of everything she ate at a meal. she used rubber stamps to number, date, and otherwise “catalogue” the objects she picked up. there is a drawing which outlines all the possible variants of “ham and cheese.” even her paintings and landscapes have meticulous documentary feel to them.

i can’t tell if i inherently understood this approach to documentation before or if studying this book has influenced me, but i feel like i view my surroundings in a similar way. though i have yet to pull it together anywhere near the way she did.