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Image of Tremain Smith


Tremain Smith has four works in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  Her work is in corporate and private collections across the country.  She has had dozens of solo exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Scottsdale, Maine, Delaware, Florida and Hawaii.  Group exhibitions include SOFA Chicago, Art Miami, the Painted Bride, the Philadelphia Art Alliance, and the USArtists American Fine Art Show.


Smith has been reviewed extensively including coverage by the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Chicago Tribune and the LA Weekly.  Her work is included in Encaustic Art in the Twenty-First Century by Anne Lee & E. Ashley Rooney published by Schiffer Publishing, The Art of Encaustic Painting Contemporary Expression in the Ancient Medium of Pigmented Wax published by Watson-Guptill, and in the art journal New American Paintings.  Smith studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Tyler School of Art, Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pennsylvania.  


Alongside her studio practice, Tremain teaches, speaks, and leads workshops.  She was a panelist at the Eighth International Encaustic Conference presenting on “The Roots of Contemporary Encaustic”.  She received a Teaching Artist Certificate from the University of the Arts in 2009, and has taught throughout her career in local schools, libraries, community and art centers in Philadelphia, where she lives and works, as well as in other parts of the county. Please see her resume for a full list.


My desire is to use my skills as an artist to facilitate healing, both personal and collective. My artistic concern centers on making compelling works of art that create access to spirit.  The work is an expression of what is within and is about the mysteries I find when I let what is inside come out.  The lines, shapes and colors are mappings of the unseen as I explore internal landscapes.


“If you live by inspiration then you do what comes to you.”  This quote from artist Agnes Martin has led me my entire career.  I let the process take over, guiding and absorbing me.  I take risks by expressing emotion and freedom in mark-making while simultaneously finding wisdom in structure and restraint.  The grid, either as a starting point or superimposed over organic chaos, is a structure from which I move and return.


I explore, discover, and heal through the language of painting and writing.  I have made public my practice of responding to my paintings with writing, and include the accompanying poems with the paintings.  My creative process combines both languages.  The writing spontaneously explores what is mined in the painting.


I make art with a mixture of pure engagement with the physical materials along with a movement toward personal freedom, a way of healing, a form of divination, and an aesthetic path reflecting spiritual realities.  The technique I use in my paintings is composed of layers of oil glazes, collage, and transparent beeswax on panel.  Works on paper are made with either oil and beeswax or a hand-ground recipe of gum arabic and oil emulsion. I have recently begun to forage my own pigments directly from the earth in local parks and preserves. 


My aspiration: I am a soul artist. I see into my own being. I have a source inside me. I make what’s blocked start moving again. I am a warrior of concentrated light.

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