This exhibition explores the universal identity of the soul through the mortal lens of a spiritual being who navigates the world as a servant of God and happens to be a Black woman, a daughter, a grand-daughter, a sister, a cousin, a friend, an auntie, and a Queer wife. Tramaine invites audiences to contemplate themselves in the presence of Divine spirit through the human face, which cannot see itself unless seen in reflection.
Artists like Genesis Tramaine are often characterized as ‘outsider’, ‘visionary’ or ‘self-taught’ because of their examination of idiosyncratic realities that are imbued with imagination and visual power that encapsulates aesthetic criteria defined by the art historical canon. Her work brings together disparate traditions, practices and styles to create a visual collage of lines, shapes, patterns, brushstrokes, portraits and colorful iconography that examines how to restore ‘wholeness’ through faith.
Stylistically, Tramaine’s work references urban expressionism and art brut of the 1980s, reminiscent of Jean Michel Basquiat, without enigmatic epigrams or drug culture to influence her palette or visions. Conversely, her practice begins with a mental, physical and emotional submission to God with a prayer before, during and after she works. Akin to her name, Genesis, her practice manifests a spectacular surrogate universe that consumes her psyche and body into a spirited painting frenzy. Lead by spirit guides who can be seen within the work, it is not until she completes the paintings does she realize what she has made. This is like glossolalia, or speaking in tongues, in which people unconsciously speak words in languages unknown to the speaker.
- Halima Taha