Athi-Patra Ruga’s iridescent art on black pioneers + more in Sculpture Garden
Solo exhibition taps into your imagination, memories + dreams
Artist Jill Trappler uses mokoros to take you on an exquisite journey
Artist Jill Trappler’s first solo exhibition since 2019, Water and the Moon, is a moving experience. It explores the specific and the universal, the visible and invisible, and the possible and impossible – very relevant connections to be making in times when many are globally connected and yet experience isolation, particularly in lockdown periods.
The exhibition is on from now until 10 April at 6 Spin Street Gallery in Cape Town, in a grand Victorian building that is also a restaurant.
LINKING WORLDS THROUGH THE MOKORO
A mokoro is a wooden canoe commonly used in Botswana, particularly in the Okavango Delta. In Water and the Moon, this is the vessel that takes the art viewer on a journey into unknown territories. “The carved clay boats are totemic,” says Trappler. “As tactile objects, they can be held in the hand and rubbed, while the eye is lost in the mysteries of the Raku glaze.”
There is a fleet of them, in small forms, and by holding them one can imagine floating into these landscapes of deserts, treetops, deltas and skies. There are 40 works in the exhibition, created from clay, watercolours and oils.
THIS IS A TRIP INTO YOUR DREAMS
The mokoro is also a metaphor for interpretation, how the mind takes what the eye sees and links feelings, thought and intuition, and allows us to expand the visual. This is a trip into the “the landscape of memory and dreams”. In the large paintings, Trappler explores the rhythms of moving water, utilising marks and lines to communicate silence, or a beat or vibration, as well as the rhythmical reflections of moonlight on water.
“6 Spin Street is a large, excitingly-proportioned space with exceptionally high ceilings and arched windows. Although vast, it is a comfortable and containing space, where the fleet of mokoros are at home to carry the artist and the viewer on a voyage through the vibrant shapes, colours and rhythms of the waterscapes,” says Trappler.
“TRAPPLER’S WORK ENTIRELY AUTHENTIC”
Curator Margie Murgatroyd says Trappler paints almost compulsively. “Abstraction comes to her naturally, it is not a convention which she happens to have adopted. She also works at speed, creating enormous canvasses seemingly effortlessly. Her work is entirely authentic and her paintings range from poetic and lyrical to sometimes quite harsh, raw and geometric. Some are built up with soft layers of colour, creating a great sense of depth, reminiscent of Monet or Rothko. Others are primal, angry and powerful,” she says.
Although it would be most powerful to see these paintings in the space in person, Murgatroyd says a virtual experience will also be available, in light of prevailing conditions.
If you want to experience Cape Town’s artistic scene – you’ll get more than art galleries – at its most vibrant, get out on First Thursdays.
If you’d like to stick to the art, then have a look at this list of galleries in and around the city.
Also, here are some spots in town worth checking out; they’re new (and some are new-ish).
Use our events section for an up-to-date overview of what’s happening in the city, ‘burbs and dorpies. Join our newsletter and get quick access on the go by adding us to your mobile home screen for the ultimate guide to discoveries in Cape Town.