An alumnus, artist and teacher, Markeith Woods will present his exhibit, “Live or not to Live, that is the Question,” at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

The free, public event will begin with an opening reception at 3 p.m. Thursday, May 10, at the John Brown Watson Memorial Library at UAPB.

Woods is an art teacher at James Matthews Elementary School in the Dollarway School District.

“Woods says his work is an inspired narrative of life where people demonstrate love, respect, compassion, agony, oppositions, confidence and death,” according to a news release.

A native of Pine Bluff, Woods is a 2014 graduate of UAPB, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in visual arts.

“I am a perceptual artist,” Woods said. “Through observation, I aim to re-create my personal experiences by using symbols, words, images and emotions that are familiar. When faced with life’s challenges and confronting pain it drives out the imperfection that we face such as oppression, health disparities, and social issues, unemployment, and other issues. These emotions are an inspiration for my work.”

According to the release, Woods paints the faces in his artwork red, yellow, and orange to show a strong will built up over time.

“Time is the only thing the figures in his work can’t change but they can change themselves and the things around them in the right moment in life. The lines in the skin tones reminds him of his grandmother that it is important to take advantage of time and not let life stop us from confronting our destiny,” according to the release.

“It is only at this point my subjects have an opportunity to find their true identity also one’s talent or gifts,” Woods said. “These qualities are portrayed through the use of clouds, dark, cool colors, and vibrant colors to create a conceptual approach in my paintings. Mostly, I use primary colors to express the raw emotions and the struggles that my subjects encounter, which makes them strong.”

Recently, Woods’ attention is focused on the eyes. He is experimenting with garments, crowns, and composition to draw viewers’ eyes close to the sitter’s character, according to the release.

“I paint family members, friends, famous people, and strangers. From this, it gives me a sense of awareness and adds a personal dimension to my work,” Woods said. “I paint because it moves me spiritually. Painting is a sense of worship to me and transports me to a place of peace. Faith has motivated my work. Painting allows me to express myself fully and is my therapy and salvation.”

After graduating from UAPB, Woods attended the Memphis College of Art in 2015 for a year where he studied painting and drawing.

Woods has also worked at the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas as an assistant educator, giving tours and gaining experience with organizing educational classes.

This led him to an opportunity to substitute teach at Lighthouse Academy Charter School, where he was responsible for providing classroom learning and activities to students in kindergarten through 6th grade, according to the release.

He has been involved in art competitions and community projects. At James Matthews school, he aspires to share his experiences to help people develop a winning attitude about life, according to the release.