Artist: Ja’rie Gray
Exhibition: My Complexion
Media: Oil paint on canvas, charcoal on canvas
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery East
About the Artist: Ja’rie Gray is from South Central LA. she finished her BFA in Laguna college of art & design in Laguna Beach It is her third year and last semester at CSULB on MFA program in Drawing and Painting with an emphasis on figurative. she started drawing when she was only 5 years old but she considered herself as an artist when she started college and taking art classes.
Formal Analysis: Jari’s paintings are made of warm colors that matches with her African root and culture. the colors also makes contrast with her characters’ skin color. there are a lot of edges in her works along with many geometric shapes like rectangular and square. women and a Bleach are the most repeated feature in her works. when it comes to charcoal drawings, the content is very similar to to the paintings but the color is gone and due to the lack of colors charcoals carry darker feelings compare to paintings.
Content Analysis: “My Complexion” exhibition’s concept is based on African american culture. her work is mostly inspired by late 20th and some contemporary artists. The “bleach” in her works is from her childhood. when she was a child she thought she can wash her skin color off with bleach and become a white person. so the bleach is the symbol of race discontent. but when she grew up she realized that it’s better to accept yourself and be proud of who you are regardless of a race or skin color. she believes that no one should change in any way in order to be accepted.
My Experience: My Complexion exhibit was very enjoyable to visit. paintings were very warm and the message behind them makes it even more beautiful. I really like the “bleach” she painted in her works. it shows how a great artist can deal with her childhood fear and displeasure in a way that make them even be her power point of her works. self acceptance is the most powerful message of this exhibit. humanity is beautiful regardless of race or color and nothing is worth to change who we are.