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