Native Charlestonian and artist W. Case Jernigan is an adventurer, but instead of detailing his experiences using straightforward pictures and diaries, he documents them abstractly. In Travelogue, an exhibit opening at the Corrigan Gallery this Friday, Jernigan uses maps, manuscripts, and drawings as a starting point for sketches but then obstructs them with ink blots and paint blobs.
“I learned … to never allow myself to become ‘precious’ with the work,” says Jernigan, who received his MFA in painting from the New York Studio School. “What I mean is that one mark or form must lead to another. Getting attached to a part of a drawing or painting that I like is a sure mistake, because this means I’m trying to force an image instead of allowing the piece to lead me to unexpected places. My best work ends up looking entirely different from my initial thoughts or expectations. The hard part is knowing the signs or cues that lead in a different direction. In this way, it’s not difficult for me to erase or obscure while I work, because I know the layering and changes will take the work further.”
In addition to travel, Jernigan finds inspiration in everything from books by John Updike and Maurice Sendak to strolling in Italian villages or around Colonial Lake. He’s always open. “I find great parallels between literature and making art — both deal with narrative elements but also journalistic elements, storytelling, structure, and editing,” he says. “But a couple of months ago I was walking through Brooklyn and saw this electric blue graffiti scrawled across a warehouse that really struck me. So I find myself always admiring the classics in art and literature, but also pulling ideas from contemporary culture.”
Travelogue will be Jernigan’s first exhibit in Charleston. Stop by the gallery at 62 Queen St. on Friday for the artist’s reception from 5-8 p.m. The show will be on display through March 1. Visit casepaint.com for more on the artist.