Artist: Ja’rie Gray
Exhibition: My Complexion
Media: Oil and Canvas Paintings
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery East
This week’s gallery walk I was privileged to meet CSULB artist Ja’rie Gray. She is from South Central Los Angeles and is a Drawing and Painting major. She is a graduate student and has been going to school at CSULB for about three years. She has her BFA from the Laguna College of Art and Design in Laguna Beach. She has been doing art since she was five years old and likes using references combined with her imagination to create her art.
Gray’s artwork is oil and canvas based paintings. She has a few sketches that kind of show the process of her paintings in pencil and as you go through the exhibit it gets into her finished paintings. The paintings are very colorful and by looking at them, it looks as if you can see the texture on the canvas. All of her paintings has people in them and focus on the complexion of the individuals whether they are posing or in the act of doing something.
Gray’s art is inspired by late 20’s African American Art. Her art is centered around beauty of darker complexion. She believes that people don’t accept themselves and it has become embedded in our culture that in order to be accepted you have to look a certain way. For example when she was a kid, she bathed in bleach to try and lighten her skin. It is meant to give a feeling of empowerment to people with darker skin to be comfortable with who they are and know that you can still be beautiful and accepted as you are.
This exhibit for me was a very special one because I think that Ja’rie really worked with a topic that many people don’t really talk about but it definitely is an issue in our society. I like how she used her paintings to depict a light on people of darker complexion and put them on the spot light. I feel like she did justice on this topic and I really was inspired by her work. This is now by far my favorite exhibit because it had the biggest impact on me. This one definitely meant the most to me. I wish Ja’rie Gray the best and hope she continues speaking through her art.