Jill Trappler Art and activism Subaltern voice

The dance and sound awaken the audience’s imagination and the begin to flirt with the viewer igniting a sensual experience of being present in the space. This moves to the paintings and the viewer becomes aware of the radiating vitality of the colour, the dance and the music. The combination of the three “art forms” using essential materials, (the artists, the instruments, the skill and space) embrace the audience into an experience that they become part of. The paintings are there because the viewer is there to “witness” them. The paintings ask questions and a dialogue is set up. They are moving but they remain there to return to. Dance and sound become embedded in one’s memory and move on, retrievable from memory or video but not reexperienced as one can with a painting.

Experience all three, painting, dance and music together we reach a heightened contemplation of what we feel like as human beings, there is a freedom in this; a freedom necessary for survival. The internal vibrations assist to balance and neutralise the off centredness that most of us live with daily.

Scale, in terms of the gallery space and the sound, the size and proportions of the paintings relate directly to the narrative which in this these paintings. The narrative is mostly lyrical, fluid as in the dance. The contrasts, disharmonies (the getting used to experiences we have never had, letting go of habits we simply rely on) encourage a rethink, a re-entry and usually an upcycling of habit. The contrasts, deep degrees in the tones of colour, assists the eye to move not only across but further into the surface and also in front of the painting.  The eye touches and feels, the ear hears and moves our minds and bodies; we can move with the paintings and in the paintings and take the visual away with us as a record to refer to. Our memories are like reservoirs filled with natural water and accessible at any time for us to drink from.

My practise is art making with images and materials; the subject matter is usually abstract. Politics, social contribution, family life can be done parallel to making paintings, but informed by daily life; there may be a transfusion or unconscious follow through but there is no intention to replicate, comment or populate. The work is made with assistance from “the all-seeing eye of the imagination”. I try to stay resilient or at least in conversation with the secret guardians that “will” me away from working. Beyond their grasp I work. (about the Guardians, read William (Bill) Ainslie 1934 – 1989 by David and Jill Trappler, edited by Judy Conway.)

There are many ways into these paintings. Making space for the experience, making space for colour to be activated; like making space for a dancer or for a musician. Paintings are not static, visual experience is mobile and tactile and inclusive. The visual can throw you off, push you away, hook you in.

I ask that you do not look for what we have been told to look for in order to understand but rather apprehend the painting or dance and allow it to resonate.  The music is unscored, the painting undiscovered, the dance is in the listening and looking. Hannah was called to the painting and worked her way into the colour, talking and listening the moving away. I realise that I will be able to speak if I listen although so much is beyond words.

References move from arbour glyphs to graffiti. The substance of art work or is its subject matter, does it matter? This is the constituency of the soul and the currency of the heart, the playfulness of the mind.

John Berger.

“To try to understand the experience of another it is necessary to dismantle the world as seen from one’s own place within it and to reassemble it as seen from his”

For me this applies to painting too and teaching.

 In return it gives shape to my thinking and seeing. My creative attention is engaged and my relationship with the external world expanded.

Ideas from conversations and studio message to myself.


Mysterious and beautiful things that make us human.

Intervals in one’s life that sink to deeper levels.

Freedom to imagine and implement takes you to a point of memory or of expansion.

Threads that may connect, threads that are part of our being, find common ground, build bridges.

The formal underpinning of a painting gives me a platform to loosen up and take a chance/let the medium talk. As in a tapestry one starts with the frame, then the warp, then the weaving begins.

My practise is embedded in drawing (seeing) that then allows for experimenting with more confidence. The interplay between spontaneity and control allows for transmission of association, literal become lyrical, (lateral), immediate and remembered.

Working to create space and movement on a flat, predetermined surface and space, or crop, or extend. Find the edge in relation to the whole.


Co-existence of soothing, gentle intimacy and rigorousness creates movement in and beyond the flat surface. Not a contradiction but a making whole, competition and collaboration. Balance and asymmetry, awkward and graceful. Symmetry becomes ambiguous. 

 The desired voids fill with doubt and empty out, again. (seawater).

Alone the images become visible slowly.

Rhythm, aliveness of the whole, creates a buzz or hmm that resonates and then moves from the surface to the viewer and within the work.


Visual and visceral contact, physical doing and making, hands.

Names I remember of people who have helped my seeing. One day I will write them from memory they remain active. Thank you all.


 Observation is a touch stone that stimulates the eye and hand; drawing. Imagination takes over.

Atmosphere rather than depiction?

Colours; what are they in themselves and what do they do to one another. Not in association but in observation, this becomes the narrative, how the edge of yellow meets red…. then there are experimental qualities rather than imaginary or memory. Fresher and engaging, new ness, a way forward.  Rather than dwelling and trying to recall, ruminating. It is not therapy; it is living now. Experiencing now.  The small cave studio with no natural light, similar to the garage in Mowbray next to the fruit tree. These spaces force one to organise, improvise and get on with it.

Seeing becomes doing until rest time and contemplation. Ideas need to be sifted out and put aside like old lentils or rotten seeds.


The changeability of materials and experimentation of approach complicates our understanding, comprehension is befuddled and apprehension steps in; the feel of the experience is allowed to reside for a while and then filter through the common senses and fascinated mind. A steading of being. Where I am, a routine with flexibility, adrenaline in slow soft waves instead of rampaging through mind and body.  Each painting finds its sense of place and settles into being with us., autonomous as we are. If the painting is greater than the existing world, move away from it, it will catch your eye. Perhaps I try and catch something of the existing world but it usually comes through memory; (yes, like the many triangle I see that make up the mountain that I look at every day.)  I have remake it indirectly.

Not didactic, not prescriptive but engaging, maybe seductive…it creeps in and grows, simmers, breaks down some of the preconceptions and habits, takes strength from experience and shifts the spiral of life/death energy sending us forward in time.

By making something I will find secrets and they will give me insight into what I am doing and thinking. I see my fears and joys in the making. We are not able to look directly at these things; we need a way round and into them. This happens when we make images. It is all beyond words but … I write.