Jill Trappler was a student of her uncle, Bill Ainslie and worked at the Johannesburg art foundation while studying through Unisa. As an active participant in the Thupelo Workshop from its inception, a founder member of the Greatmore Studios in Cape Town, Chairperson for a few years of the Association for Visual Arts, Board member of the NAC, to mention but a few of her activities, Trappler has participated rigorously in art and craft projects in South Africa and further afield.
Jill is a weaver by trade and established the Philani weaving project and the Intle cooperative project in Site B and Philippi. She has worked as an unqualified OT at Baragwaneth (1976/77), FUBA and various other employment and educational projects involving visual literacy and creativity. (Wolanani, Dorman street initiative, De Lorentz clinic open studio and Orange street studios, The art studio initiative at Valkenberg). Various younger artists and crafters moved into to keep the projects fresh and sustainable.
Jill has lectured at UCT summer school.
Jill Trappler is an artist who consistently explores different modes of non-representational art in a variety of media; she works with the intimacy of the human condition.
Integral to Trappler’s creative process are the primacy of surface, the physicality of material and the personal involvement and development of individual potential.
Although she has participated in many group and solo shows, her presence and contribution have to some extent been over-shadowed by her far-reaching involvement in teaching, mentoring and project work. This work has been sustained by her on going studio practise and attendance at Triangle workshops.
She exhibits regularly in group shows nationally and abroad. Her solo exhibitions are numerous and continue to be a priority in her practice.
The combinations of project work, teaching and personal practice has a significant impact. Interactively exchanging skills and ideas with people from diverse backgrounds and experiences plus daily involvement in making art/craft extend the engagement with creativity and grow confidence in the participants involved.
Her art is not didactic, there is no commentary or issue; it is about painting/making and observing her social and environmental surroundings; painting for both artist and viewer is an attempt to stimulate the imagination. She has no need to be fashionable as a painter and she has remained faithful to abstractionism in the face of shifts and changes in the world of art.
Please see detailed CV on website.
In 2018 I resigned from all project work, boards and committees. This decision was taken when I turned 60 but it took two years to hand over and fully integrate myself into full time studio practice plus part time teaching. This has been a very important and necessary identity shift which I now fully embrace. Besides the privilege of undistracted hours in my studio, I have time to participate more fully in the art industry as a practicing artist and to work at greater depth and intimacy in my practice. This impacts on my teaching and the exposure of my work. The three-month interactive exhibition at Gallery South this year reiterated the need to interact with performers, academics, musicians, children of all ages and background. The meetings set up during this exhibition, (Stoep) used the work on the exhibition as a platform for conversations, sound and movement experiments and personal discussions with audiences of all ages. The connectedness I have with my work as an ongoing practice in my studio at home has given me time to research, extended my interaction with materials, slowed me down and given me time to experiment. I will be exhibiting new work at the AVA in October which will include paintings and sculptures. The idea of color and sound, mark and rhythm inform the composition and internal structures that hopefully transform the two-dimensional surface into a three-dimensional experience.
Image making holds a significant place in human connectivity. Visual literacy and practice make this possible. Working with images links us with an imaginative process that encourages conversation between people and with ourselves. Working with deeply personal imagery and engaging with the collective (both consciously and unconsciously) we can bridge gaps in society and within our psyches. In my experience finding common ground through music and image making contributes to a sense of what it is to be human.