Tremain Smith's paintings are mappings of a spiritual nature. She often divides her
panels in half and in quarters. The divisions reflect the crossroads, the intersection
between worlds. Circular forms that emerge in these pieces express the essence of
spirit They are points of access, of power.
"My goal as an artist is to paint compelling works of art that create access to the spiritual
world", states Smith. Multicultural influences that inspire her work include ancient
systems of divination related to the forces of nature and the spiritual aspects of the
earth, and the cycle of urban decay and renewal in her city environment. Rich earth
tones and a grid-Iike structure synthesize these associations.
Smith combines collaged elements with oil glazes and laminates them with layers of
transparent beeswax. Each tier is drawn on, scratched into, heated, ironed and rubbed.
She burns heated objects into the wax and into the wood itself before wax is applied,
leaving a stratum of imprints. Earthy glazes fill the crevices. Through these processes,
she creates a texture and depth that draws the viewer into the substance and spirit
beneath the surface.
Examples of her unique style are included in The Art of Encaustic Painting published by
Watson-Guptill, and four of her pieces are in the permanent collection of the
Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. She participated in the International Biennial
of Contemporary Art in Florence, Italy in December 2003. She has been awarded a
residency at the McColl Center for Visual Art in Charlotte, North Carolina for the fall of
Her works are in various corporate collections including the Visa Corporation, and in
private collections across the country .She has had over a dozen solo exhibitions in
New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Scottsdale, Maine and Delaware, including the
Delaware Center for Contemporary Art and the Lancaster Museum of Art. Her many
group exhibitions include SOFA Chicago, the Painted Bride, the Philadelphia Art
Alliance, and the USArtists American Fine Art Show. Smith studied at the Pennsylvania
Academy of Fine Arts, Tyler School of Art, Carnegie-Mellon University and the
University of Pennsylvania.
Smith lives in Philadelphia with her husband and three children.
"The careful buildup of her painting surfaces is indicative of the respect she has for her
subject. ..If spirit and its potential to move us is to be harnessed, it has to be given an
enclosure worthy of it and this is what Smith has effected."
William Zimmer, critic for The New York Times 2002
"Tremain Smith's work is multiple thin layers of wax built up to a rich glowing
intensity The richly worked surface of textures and colors reflect an earthy, sensual
Ellel'1 Slupe, Art Matters, September 2003