Sorrel Hofmann at Irma Stern museum, February 2017.

Instead of geographical images on the pages in an Atlas, we have an Atlas of images filling the gallery. In both we experience the vastness and language that is not familiar; we find a word or a river, a point of location to start our journey. In the art works the abundance of information is refined into shapes, picture planes and surfaces touched by narrative. Informed by experiences, the work becomes the reality of the artist. Reality challenges preconceptions and opens us to journey with another, freely. Then “we will be what we are”, located at the beginning of a visual journey, Atlas surrounding us.

Beside the tactile facture there appears to be a “matter of factness” about the artist’s approach to her work. This is of the nature of a person with a divining stick in their hands. She wonders until the quivering starts and the divining stick vibrates with the subterranean streams. Or of a person who stands with a telescope and views the length of the desert, moves up to the horizon and across the sky, day or night, new moon or full moon. We are asked to zoom in, pull visual information closer in order to then “be what we are”.

This is the first solo show of work by Sorrel Hoffman. On her website, she writes;

“we will be what we are until we are no more.”

Navigating this exhibition suggests that we could reword this and say; we are no more, until we will be what we are.

The geography is expansive and overwhelming, the connection when it is made is specific and intimate. (Large shapes describe spaces and marks gathered hastily give definition; they seem to say, be here, on this surface.) Shapes give us direction and make places; we can say, “we will be what we are until we are no more” because the making of the image has begun and the shapes find their way into the shape of the format and tell a story, the story of why it is being made. It is a purposeful journey story of wanting to share with us and show us geographical situations.

The “matter of factness” that is apparent initially, changes to urgency; (the divining stick vibrates and we need to dig for water) Yet there is a slowness and deliberation in just how to relate the shapes to one another. There is not much overlaying, the shape is placed once, the line is drawn and left. Something is added or not. The images are built with an elegance and they are not about a particular thing or object. These references, these markers are skeletons for us to explore, stop, wait and resume our wandering. There are objects and the spaces between become places for the eye to glean and travel. Time is measured and temporal, directions unspecific.

Shapes describe place. The place in the shape of the format, a place within the shape, a shape within a place. Landscape.

The sense of happenstance is inverted by that of reality; in some of the images we are taken into the distance, (over stretches of earth, around places/objects, towards a mountain, over the horizon…) or we journey as if on the face of a compass, or we are directed left to right, bottom to top, top to bottom. There are no short cuts. The artist has been there, witnessed the place physically or through a lens. Her eye has been there and she leads us in this body of work to journey with her.

John Berger writes about “the shape of a pocket”; this is about a small pocket of resistance, resistance against inhumanity. In Atlas, this exhibition of collages, drawings, mixed media, prints and installation, we are presented with little pockets of information. They speak of the need for humans to respect the wonders of our world. The earth and especially the deserts, the clear skies, the shadows; the mysteries this all holds are shown to be so very precious. “we will be what we are until we are no more.”

The world in these images, is not empty but magnificently full, vibrating with a skeletal significance that we are encouraged to quiver with and absorb. We are asked to resist any interference or indignities that humans are possible of imposing.

These images describe Sorrel’s reality, her way of resisting the preconceived notions of the world. One of her fellow students in a drawing class observed that Sorrell “encourage us to be faithful to our way of seeing”.

Indeed, she is practising what she encourages in others and suggesting, gently what we too can shape up to, “until we are no more.”

Jill Trappler

Monday Morning Sessions

Monday morning sessions at Ruth Prowse school  start on the 6th of February and continue through to 10th April 2017.  (no class on the 20th March)
Please see details about the sessions in the 2016 information.

Unfolding into Spring

You are invited to
An exhibition of new work by
Jill Trappler
Unfolding into Spring
Opening Saturday, 8 October 2016 at 11am
Irma Stern Museum, Rosebank, Cape Town

image001Jill Trappler | Eclipse

Light, darkness and depth to mull over














The fact that visual art has the ability to communicate beyond words, almost in ‘another language’, gives it almost always the emotional edge when the subject is about painful issues or about the deeper human condition.

In this regard the fine, blue stitches of surgical thread, barely visible in Eunice Geustyn’s work of mixed media, are acerbic metaphors of the injured lives of raped and murdered women that she uses as a theme.

Where the needles are sometimes still visible in the picture, it reminds the viewer of how difficult it is to heal a community where such crimes have occurred.

On the gallery floor is a strip of sand and medical jars to remind us of the many neglected and abused children, like debris from the sea that we step over. As with the thin surgical thread, these glass vials are a stronger reminder of vulnerability than words can ever be.

Her piece, “when is enough enough”, consists of old style wooden markers with names – like at funerals. Women’s lives ruined and packed away.

Although Jill Trappler’s paintings which makes up the other half of this double exhibition, looks in their abstract style as if it belongs to another world than that of Geustyn, it maintains the same argument: physical presentation as a different multilingualism. Here the title of the Exhibition. “Half- light”, is very becoming.

Deep in the darkness of her linen boards, or even those anchored in white can the viewer sense light, darkness and depth. All is not what it seems at first glance. The viewer gets tested, cerebrally mesmerized, urged to decipher the story or message.

Trappler’s art has elements that one can read as a metaphysical presence and which is the hallmark of traditional and outstanding abstract art.

These huge paintings presents some of the strongest that she had done in a while. In their blatant presence they contrast perfectly with Geustyn’s poignant and inflammatory presentations.

Unfolding into spring

Irma Stern Museum
The University of Cape Town


Jill Trappler, Eclipse, Series: Weaving and Unwoven, 2015/2016, acrylic on canvas, 160 x 240 cm

Jill Trappler
Unfolding into spring

Opening Saturday the 8th October at 11 am
Please join us at the opening of “unfolding into spring”. A solo exhibition of new work by Jill Trappler
Walkabout on Saturday the 15th and Thursday the 20th October at 11 am
Closes Saturday 29th October 12 noon

Full details on the website: click here
UCT Irma Stern Museum, situated in Cecil Road, Rosebank, Cape Town
Gated parking in Chapel Road





UCT Irma Stern Museum, “The Firs”, Cecil Road, Rosebank, Cape Town, 7700
Telephone +27 (0)21 685 5686
Fax +27 (0)21 686 7550
Event enquiries:

Tuesday- Friday from 10am-5pm, Saturday from 10am-2pm, Closed public holidays


The paintings for the exhibition at AVA, “Half light and shadow” are from an ongoing series, “weaving and unwoven”.

The images are made on canvas with acrylic paint and various media and are found in scribbling, drawing, dripping, pouring, layering, scratching, polishing and painting. They are tracked into the surface and found in the pigment and handwork. Like an archaeologist finds bones and fossils in the rock and earth, the images are found in the surfaces laid down in the specific scale of format and cloth. The grids of line and colour are built as threads are on a loom; however, with water based paint the movement allows for both “warp and weft”, horizontals and verticals, to be placed at the same time. The paint responds to the media used in priming or preparing the cloth. The images are built by securing a structured scaffolding of drawing in order for the colour to be used easily, to play and move the eye into various narratives.” Light-lee” and “Leeway” are based on grids made of squares. This geometry and structure gives me mobility to layer, draw and find the rhythms. The process is similar to selecting and moving words in a sentence or sentences in a paragraph or notes in a bar of music, bars of notes in a sequence of sound.

The limited colour and use of extending tonal values slows the process and draws on the imagination. The process is meditative and dependent on time spent making and looking, seeing and thinking.

The darker work hides as an octopus does waiting to come to you when you allow your eye to penetrate the “ink” of camouflage and while we wait the light moves and we see more. You will feel included and touched by these places. This may be a metaphor for the meditative depth we may seek in our own lives.

(References from The Soul of an Octopus; Sy Montgomery)

The indigo and blues/green are for me in a lower frequency. I don’t know much about the science of sound but I feel the levels of frequency and the rhythms of colour. I hope the colour in this body of work brings calm and restfulness so that you can lose yourself as you explore and discover, quieten and open your heart, breath slowly.

The scale of this work relates to my engagement in the relationship between the personal and the collective. I look at this in context of ideas of “the anima mundi”, the concept of “as above, so below” and as an everyday task. The aloneness of my studio with my work is quite different from participating in a workshop or project with others. My work is different and the combination when found in one piece is what I look for; the large image made of many tiny multiples of colour and mark remind me of the cells, the connective tissue, the bones to the whole body of a person. The person to the friend/s, community, place; The one star with all the other stars, planets, black holes, galaxies in the deep, vibrant universe etc.

The world of shadow is one of transition where one may see more in the half light or twilight than one does when confronted with sharp colour and commentary. These paintings may feel unnerving but they indeed safe places. The images invite you into a quiet place which is usually avoided because of stirrings and arousals as in dreams, memories, reflections! It is in this zone that changes in awareness, consciousness and thinking can take place. By mobilizing our imagination, we mobilize ourselves and find others.

The reference to “weaving and unwoven” is from the book H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald and comes from a manuscript by T H White, King Arthur in the cottage. This is a reference to initiation ceremony.

Paintings have a parallel for me with Initiation ceremonies; each painting is a new beginning. This reference is also used in the work that will be at the Irma Stern gallery in October 2016. “Unfolding into spring”. Spring is the entrance to another year, a time of initiation, of waking again into the warmth of the sun after a quieter and internalised winter. Also a time of the first equinox.

The work for the Irma Stern show is based in a poem by Rudyard Kipling, “the feet of young men” and refers to the Valley of the red gods. This is place on top of Table Mountain that carries a stillness that I try to bring into my paintings. Another reference would be Michael Fried’s essay on the idea of “Presentness” that some paintings are able to share.
These new images have reference to previous work and move forward with a fresh pace and commitment to painting and object making.

Jill Trappler
August/September 2016

Opening of the exhibition Half Light & Shadow

Opening of the exhibition Half Light & Shadow, featuring work by Eunice Geustyn and Jill Trappler: 1 September 2016, at 6pm.













Jill Trappler, Aerial Dance, 2015, acrylic on canvas, 140 x 610cm
Eunice Geustyn, (Swallow) You’re nothing without me, 2016, drypoint etching, A/P

The exhibition comprises a series of acrylic paintings by Jill Trappler and print-based multi-media work and installations by Eunice Geustyn.

The works explore the subliminal; physical, psychological or spiritual elements that reside below the surface, which live in shadow, and may be partially illuminated. The contrasting bodies of work also speak of perception; that which appears dark yet upon inspection reveals light, and that which appears light, yet has none, but which draws one in through the shadows.

Eunice’s prints and Jill’s paintings are almost directly complimentary in concept and intention. Where Eunice has a direct narrative and message, Jill maps the geography of the surface and leaves the meta-narratives for the viewer to seek.

Opens 1 September 2016 at 18h00
Until 1 October 2016.

Gallery opening hours: Monday – Friday 10h00-17h00 and Saturday 10h00-13h00.

On First Thursday 1 September 2016, the AVA Gallery hosts Wonder Marthinus’ works on paper as a special
1-night exhibition in the Salon/Books room. Please follow our Facebook page for more information.

Paid-up members are welcome to submit one art work each, maximum size 60x60cm, for the AVA’s annual uncurated, salon-style Members Exhibition. The gallery can install up to 150 art works and will operate on a
first-come-first-serve basis. Works may be brought in during the entire month of August 2016.

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