Beyond the Canvas: Review of Genesis Tramain’s “Evidence of Grace”

Cebelli Pfeifer, Staff Writer

Art expressed in all forms can open up a new dimension beneath the surface, inviting cataclysmic thoughts that suppress nothing and welcome all. Whether it be through each elegant stroke that signifies something deeper, the flourishing colors that preach the sermon, or the distorted looking biblical saints that speak inherently from beneath the canvas, 31-year-old Genesis Tramaine portrays all in her newly released collection of paintings titled, “Evidence of Grace.”

Inspired by the complexity yet simplistic qualities of her hometown’s 1980s Contemporary art style back in Brooklyn, Tramaine takes the viewer through a soul-opening journey when observing her work. 

Genesis Tramaine, David and Goliath, 2020

Through Tramaines’s journey with God and the transcendence of those who have overcome gender and racial oppression, she continues to inspire. Tramaine proves this through her notorious depiction of black people’s faces and biblical figures, such as in her largest piece from “Evidence of Grace,” “David and Goliath.” 

One may observe her work and question how distortion represents those of biblical significance? In an interview with Stephanie Seidel from “Cultured Magazine,” Tramaine speaks about the consistency behind distortion among her work, “The portraits are biblical saints. I am a devotional painter, and I think it’s important to give a face to saints who have names but don’t have a real persona in the bible. The images of saints that we know that are projected at us are all white with blond hair-and we all know that is not true.” 

Tramaine exudes that her duty is to preach what God has spoken to her and share it with others. In an additional Interview about her past works, Tramaine says, “You will never find a repeat of my work because you can’t repeat a prayer.” When looking at other classic religious pieces such as “The Last Supper” or a more modern piece such as “St Paul. Preaching Prison”, it is clear, there is nothing else like her work.

Genesis Tramaine, The Lord is My Shephard, 2020

I have nothing more than basic knowledge regarding the Bible. However, Tramaines work proves how the reader is not being forced on to a platter of sermons. But welcomed and invited onto the canvas to rejoice and find comfort in colors and patterns that speak more than words. Among her works, Tramaine almost always notes that each piece is made with oil sticks, oil pastels, and the Holy Spirit.

Tramaine, a self-identified Black, Queer woman, stands high as she moves forward as a painter in the dominating world we inhabit. Although not everyone may be enticed by art, Tramaine’s work is worth looking into and exploring regardless of the ominous-feel presented when entering the unknown. With a new year comes the ability to indulge in new possibilities, the collection “Evidence of Grace” is no exception.