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Yeshua is the source! The sauce! The magic! Without Yeshua, it ain’t nothing. It’s not my hand alone that delivers the work, I’m just a vessel. Without Yeshua, it’s just paint.

Genesis Tramaine, using the Hebrew word for Jesus, in Artsy, June 19, 2020
Genesis Tramaine, Saint with Bethel Vision, 2021
Genesis Tramaine, Saint with Bethel Vision, 2021. Acrylic, spray paint, Hurricane Ida Rain (2021 storm water), Holy Spirit and oil sticks; 72 × 72 inches (182.88 × 182.88 cm). Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. Gift of David L. and Jessica Ruttenberg, 2021.34.1. © Genesis Tramaine.

Driven by her faith, Genesis Tramaine is an expressionist and urban evangelist painter. Tramaine grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Her upbringing, as well as a close relationship with God and her family, continue to influence her work today. Her mature work is an outgrowth of a childhood drawing practice that often featured monsters and funny faces. Her abstract portraits are meant to transcend gender, race and social structures while being a direct reflection on her love for and relationship with the Church.

Tramaine’s social and political conscience as a female painter is strengthened by the constant challenges that women of color face as a result of social inequalities of race, class and gender. Tramaine’s work is also influenced by Bible verses and other church readings: Her career as a painter reflects her relationship with God. Her spiritual influences have a strong impact on the composition and depth of each painting. By layering every brushstroke to reveal faces, Tramaine creates works with confrontational and provocative uses of color through an urban-inspired, mixed media approach.

For the artist, painting as a medium is a vector of fluidity that gives representation to queer-identifying individuals who are graced with faith. Her work often combines her skills in printmaking, typography and portrait painting. Her work spreads a message of hope, peace and tolerance while also trying to empower the voices of the communities in which Tramaine herself thrives – both as artist and educator.

This gift is the first work by Tramaine to enter the Nasher’s collection. Saint with Bethel Vision will be part of the upcoming exhibition, Beyond the Surface: Collage, Mixed Media and Textile Works from the Collection.

In the gallery below, several works from the collection pair well with Tramaine’s painting.

I think there is a way to trace the energy of God.

Genesis Tramaine, in Forbes, July 11, 2021

In painting, I think that we often try to capture the attention of those who are staring at us. … I also want to capture the story behind those eyes. I want to include the entire narrative in the gospel.

Genesis Tramaine, in ARTnews, April 8, 2022