Here is some text I wrote recently for Sally Tripptree’s joint show at The Crypt Gallery in London.
All the little, tiny, overlooked & forgotten births.
Writing on Sally Tripptree’s paintings by Kate Walters.
Spending time with these luscious drawings and paintings there’s a sense for me of being drawn through something; the image which comes is of a comb, or a filter; a pressing though, a milking, fangs against a beaker drawing out the venom, milk-white it drips; she might be pulled through by her hair; but pulled through she is, and the strands of the hair – the pink or the blue – the lightest of touches meets the flesh where it’s brushed with infinite gentleness.
We see mouthfuls of peaches on her tongue – they’re the colour of figs – and we see the holding of bodies, the insides of breasts or of hands cupping, a stroking of flesh. We ask if the flesh has been skinned. It’s muscular and full of blood; it’s blushing from a rushing of blood to the surface through stroking by eyes or hands; such an active heart, pumping a tumescence, an arousal of all the tissues.
This body is being re-membered (& all our bodies). Through this process we enter the shadow with Sally. She’s a warrior entering the cave – the dark place – to become whole. She finds light in the darkness. The making of these images is about enabling ourselves to see, even though it might feel uncomfortable. Births are often difficult, even obstructive, and always involve a crossing over: separation, expulsion, muscular contraction in mammals or the breaking of skins, seeds or shells in other beings. Being born is about going into another, different state. These works are about little re-births, the birthing of parts of the Self to make a new less wounded Whole.
Sally trusts in the shamanic/creative process to take her into the 5D reality where she knows she’ll find solutions. The beings which help her are invited to guide her hands in this 3D world, where things are manifested, made physical. Our bodies are also spirit made gorgeous flesh, blood & muscle; the walls of our hearts and the walls of our organs line the way of Sally’s journey, they lay down with their tiny cellular hands the cinders of her pilgrimage path.
In a dream of Sally which came to me recently she was pregnant, and there was a golden mare connecting with her. She’s pregnant in all these pictures: pregnant with healing and knowing; with holding and carrying and opening; with bursting and tearing and she becomes through her art a “Divinely built castle’ with knowing of ‘the heavenly ones’.
The heart is a ball of golden seeds from an age-old sacrifice ensuring fertility; there are shining teeth smiling at us here; fruiting bodies, ripening follicles exploding into the fingers of airy Fallopian tubes; feeling unseen, she brings her unseen-ness to the light – she makes her own light – she thinks about giving on another level, going through the doorways of barren-ness to a wonder-dress of new skin.
There are chaotic, crazed and charged lines of nightmare and loss; disappointment opens the belly into a cave, simultaneously draining the heart; there’s the boundedness of breath and body, wish and hope, joy and sorrow. There’s the mashing of impulse and memory into the sore-lipped womb; then like a miracle the teeming muscular flower opens – and a butterfly beats against the window, softly.
As I spend time with these paintings a silver fairy on the floor sleeping will waken & watch me from the pigment scattered around my feet.
You can feel Sally’s animated fingers meshing with the pigment, or dressing the wounds with ointment & white gauze; she brings unguents, she anoints, baptises all the lost minds, all the bodies who have lost their minds: she brings them together.
She washes limbs after wars, she dresses the column of the spine with embracing breasts, she dreams about ‘blowing out my shadow’, and in the morning the perfume of the soul lingers over her bed, animal body waking with a snort: not lost, she’s reddening, transforming, bringing her pale-bone ribs to pierce the skin of all our shadows.
Kate Walters. July 2022
with his golden words he tries to hide or stop her bleeding… work almost complete…oil on canvas.
and a few studio notes, first draft, from July after my solo show at Arusha Gallery…so feeling my way back into the painting, and changing my focus slightly, aligning with my feelings around the coming climate catastrophe…and the need for us to not turn away from the trauma this will birth in us and all creatures, peoples…
Studio notes from black notebook July and August 2022
Going backwards from July 31st
Mother Nature bleeds, empties her womb
With his words he tries to hide or stop mother nature’s bleeding
Her tears go into the funnel of a flower
In the drawing their heads are wrapped in the long golden arms of dream and there’s a dark space where their mouth is
His tears make an arm
He’s a man with crying words, with words that cry
He’s a man whose words cry
She’s a woman with her tongue in flowers, her tongue on fire
I’ll paint a picture of me with all the flowers at all my centres
And I’ll remember the journey to the clouds and the ladder and the dark man who came to meet me up there and told me that all that matters is LOVE; it’s all there is.
I’ll paint an animal -headed creature holding me.
And a couple embracing and their antler wings growing from their backs and from spirit (she likes them) and into their hearts their thoraxes like butterflies they carry the memory of who they were before in their sap, their green blood, the drawn fluid, the velvet tips, my closed eyes and your breath so light like the drawing, hesitant
In the painting her vulva becomes the top of his head/wounded/injured place.
Hearing a family of blackbirds in the garden and watching their flying lessons
I wake from a long and difficult dream
I draw him with the young angel rising like a new planet from his navel or a cloud of semen or a branch growing horizontally from one tree to another; it’s an eye encased in wood or tears with thick blonde lashes making a pool where you might bathe
And I will give him some of my petals to line his chest cavity, making a new bed for his wounded heart
I paint the beauty of his soul – or some other mythic male who comes through him –
And I read about, am inspired by, the great bright bulls who run with milk and carry babies in all their bellies, who rub up butter and milk with themselves (as I do)
and it will rain with seed
I paint myself settling like a flower in his thought
My dog looks up at my face to see if I am crying. She keeps doing this.
Yesterday afternoon when I was crying she placed her front paws on my chest, and looked into my face with such love and empathy. She knew I was sad and she did all she could to show me she knew and she was sorry, and she wanted to comfort me.
The blood on the floor from my cut foot looks like a pool of paint. I dip my finger in it, I draw the horse’s head.
I read Jung and what he wrote about the opposites slumbering side by side;
After my dream of the charge and my navel and my father (and the message which arrived about him a week later, strange)and the analyst and you and I lying side by side, head to toe, like ouroboros you said, the snake which rides above your nipple over your heart. (24.07.22)
Photos below taken on Iona, of the spirit of the man-angel who was with me, aroused, in the wall of the cave at the bay at the back of the ocean; and the eyes I saw watching me from the trees in the organic garden near the Nunnery.