Jerry Wray

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Geraldine Smitherman
"Jerry" Wray

(Shreveport watercolor artist)

Jerry Wray.jpg
Political party Republican[1]

Born December 15, 1925
Shreveport, Louisiana
Died May 29, 2018 (aged 92)
Shreveport, Louisiana
Spouse George Downing Wray, Jr. (married c. 1945-2008, his death)

Four children:
Mary Virginia Wray Hill
Deanie Wray Galloway
George D. Wray, III
Nancy Wray Armistead
Parents:
Mary Virginia Hoss and David Ewart Smitherman

Religion Episcopalian

Geraldine Smitherman Wray, known as Jerry Wray (December 15, 1925 – May 29, 2018), was a watercolor painter in her native Shreveport, Louisiana.[2]

A daughter of the former Mary Virginia Hoss and David Ewart Smitherman, Mrs. Wray attended South Highlands Elementary School and graduated from Clifton Ellis "C.E." Byrd High School in Shreveport.[3] She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1943 from the Newcomb College Art School at Tulane University in New Orleans, at which she learned to work in watercolor, inks, acrylics, and collage to produce visual expressions with emphasis on color. She represented Newcomb at a student exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Mrs. Wray has won more than forty awards in the last thirty years in referred exhibits. She has had twenty-eight shows between 2002 and 2017 as well as group exhibitions throughout the United States and the Virgin Islands. Her paintings have been purchased internationally for Fortune 500 companies as well as private collections. A German firm purchased some of her originals. She was also in demand in Japan. In 1996, she was elected to the National Association of Women Artists. In 1999, she was won the showcase award from Manhattan Arts Magazine. Wray's work is available in seven galleries and seven museums worldwide, including the Meadows Museum in Shreveport and the Biblical Art Museum in Dallas, Texas.[4][5]

Besides her solo paintings, Wray also painted with her four daughters and grandchildren. The three generations exhibited their work at the Barnwell Art Center in Shreveport. She has painted more than one thousand paintings between 2007 and 2017. From 2006 to 2017, she had twenty one-person shows. She was inducted into the Visual Arts Hall of Fame and the C. E. Byrd High School Hall of Fame, both in Shreveport.[4] Daughter Mary Virginia Hill said that her mother was dedicated to her family, art, and tennis, which she had to stop playing for the last five years of her life.[2]

Each week Wray opened her Spring Lake home to other artists who gained insight from one another. Karen K. Pearce, who attended many of the session in the Wray home said that Wray taught her to change her art from a realistic style to an expressionistic one.[2]

Wray's family owns a Ford automobile dealership in Shreveport and KTBS-TV, the ABC outlet in Shreveport founded as an NBC station in 1955. Her husband, George Downing Wray, Jr. (1915-2008), died of an aortic aneurysm while they were attending the opera in Shreveport. The Wrays have four married children, Mary Virginia Hill, of Shreveport, Deanie W. Galloway of Bossier City, George D. Wray, III, of Shreveport, and Nancy Armistead of Mountain Home, Arkansas.[6]

Wray explained her commitment to painting:

My reason for painting is to express my inner-most feelings, my deep love for God, and the world He created. Feeling that painting should not be exclusively realistic or abstract, I travel freely between the two, combining them when necessary to convey my emotional and philosophical responses to the subject. Recently, I started a new series of non-objective paintings based on symbols … universal as well as personal, subjective ones. The series is a result of some Jungian studies in conjunction with my "inner journey" and an outgrowth of my Judeo-Christian background and strong beliefs. This series is called "Inside Looking Out" ... a name representing my "inner person" looking toward the light of truth. ... my work has consolidated into the direction I have been looking for all my life. I'm so excited. I can hardly finish one before another is formed in my mind."[7]

In 2009, Sarah Hudson-Pierce's Ritz Publications in Shreveport released the book, Jerry Wray: Pioneer Artist Of The South. That same year Wray has also been profiled on the PBS public affairs program, Louisiana: The State We're In.[8]

Wray died after a lengthy illness in the spring of 2018 at the age of ninety-two.

References

  1. Geraldine Wray, December 1925. Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved on September 16, 2017.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Michele Marcotte and Margaret "Maggie" Martin (May 29, 2018). Jerry Wray, beloved Shreveport artist, is dead at 92. The Shreveport Times. Retrieved on May 30, 2018.
  3. Geraldine Smitherman "Jerry" Wray obituary. The Shreveport Times. Retrieved on May 31, 2018.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Jerry Wray - Contemporary American Artist - Resume. jerrywray.com. Retrieved on September 16, 2017.
  5. About Jerry Wray. Fineartamerica.com. Retrieved on September 16, 2017.
  6. George Downing Wray, Jr.. The Shreveport Times (April 29, 2008). Retrieved on September 16, 2017.
  7. About Artist. Nwlaartists.org. Retrieved on September 16, 2017.
  8. Artist Jerry Wray Profile. ldma.lpb.org (October 9, 2009). Retrieved on September 16, 2017.