Tremain Smith uses a mixed-media technique composed of layers of oil glazes, collaged elements and transparent beeswax fused by an open flame or an iron. She seals wood panels with wax and applies color by adhering cloth and paper with the transparent wax and alternating this with layers of oil paint. She incises into the layers, and burns imprints of found metal pieces into the wax and wood. The works on paper are made with the same layering process using acrylic instead of wax and oil paint.
Smith uses the grid as her departure point. From this basis she moves freely. The lines and planes are bridges or passageways; doors, walls and floor plans to inner realities. They become mappings of the unseen as she seeks to visually manifest access to the spiritual.
She portrays what ordinarily might be invisible or overlooked and surrounds the act of painting with studies concerned with systems of divination or the discernment of the unseen, and with paths of initiation.
Historical influences on Smith’s work come from the Abstract Expressionists. She finds inspiration from artists whose work express emotion and freedom in mark-making such as Joan Snyder, and in work reflecting inner purity and restraint such as that of Agnes Martin. Both these types of influences convey a concern for expressing the spiritual through painting.