Art Show displays “Patterns of Complexity”

Nestled in Dunbar Hall in the Dunbar Art Gallery exists a forum for works created by Grambling State University students and faculty.  Changing shows periodically, the next collection to be featured in the gallery is by art student Quinstieia Gray.
Gray’s senior exhibition will began Monday and will be on display until Tuesday.
The opening reception is today at 6 p.m.  
Although the show is a requirement needed complete her major of studio art, her first show is far bigger than a homework assignment.  For Gray, it is the artistic culmination of her beliefs, struggles and adventures thus far, giving life to the show’s title “Patterns of Complexity”.
“Ms. [Donna] McGee picked the title and I think she saw that not only in my work, but also me,” said Gray, “so I think an introduction into the complexity of my life is why I do a lot of patterns.
“I’ve already titled my next work ‘Patterns of Complexity II’.”
Gray is an abstract artist who draws inspiration for her work from an array of sources such as observations or fabrics.  An avid doodler for years, Gray evolves random art from the margins of her notes into head-turning canvases in hopes of conveying meaning.  
Many of her pieces are created with simple materials, sharpie markers and acrylic paint.  However, it’s not the materials that create the complexity of Gray’s pieces, but her experiences splattered onto a canvas through her favorite outlet: art.
Gray is what academic institutions have coined a “nontraditional” student.  At age 58, she is working to obtain her bachelor’s degree and doesn’t plan to stop there.  After she graduates, Gray wants to earn a master’s that will allow her to teach the blind and a master’s of fine arts.  
When she enrolled at GSU, she didn’t face the journey as a nontraditional student, but as a person who wanted to enjoy the college life.  Sticking to that notion she has been active with Campus Ministry and became an Eastern Star to stay active around campus.  
She is the mother of three sons, and a daughter who also attends Grambling.  Though she is a Jonesboro native, she spent most of her adult life in Memphis doing different jobs which, to her, were all enjoyable.  Her resume includes seamstress, special education teacher, flower delivery driver, cabbie, tutor, Meals on Wheels deliverer, and truck driver, an occupation taken on as somewhat of a dare.Even though art has always been a part of her life, Gray says, “It’s all new to me.”     
Unfortunately, everything she has learned is literally new to her.  Some years back, she took a nasty tumble that left her badly concussed and caused her to lose not only some of her memory but the ability to draw.  
“I could easily draw people and all of a sudden it was gone,” admitted Gray. “I wasn’t interested in art and then all of a sudden it came back to me, but in a different way.
“But I am blessed because God allowed me this, and I enjoy it to the utmost,” Gray said.  
She even shared her son’s candid confession that she taught him everything he knows about art and drawing; however, she doesn’t remember any of that.  
Nevertheless, her son is a professional artist who does studio art, street art and computer graphic design.  
Trekking a long recovery road, Gray enjoys her talents the second time around and feels blessed for the rediscovery.
The idea of returning to school did not occur to her.  She says it’s just something God put on her heart, after returning home to take care of her ill mother for a year.
Although, in general, Gray doesn’t really plan anything she does, but is more of an adventurer who remembers to consider the well-being of herself and others. She doesn’t plan her pieces either, just one more commonality between her life and her creations.
“I don’t sit down and say I need to this, this and this.  I just go for it. Spontaneously from my head, from my ideas I just scribble on paper,” said Gray. “If I plan it, it won’t get done.”
Gray did manage, however, to plan the details of her show.
  The selections for her show are intended to offer guests a different view of the world, to create a sense of wonderment.  
Coming down the home stretch, Gray says she feels joy and apprehension at the same time. But Grambling art instructor Donna McGee is feeling really good about the show and hopes for the GSU community to support her.  
“It’s very disappointing when you put this much work and energy into producing art and you don’t get any positive feedback or any feedback at all except from other artists,” said McGee.
“I think people think it’s just about making pretty pictures, but it goes much further than that.”
For those who wish to find out how deep art really goes, “Patterns of Complexity” is open for view. The gallery is open to anyone who wishes to visit from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Fridays.