On February 24th 2023 my solo exhibition reflecting on my own and others’ experiences of trauma will open. It will feature works from the past 12 years or so, comprising watercolours, oil paintings, and works in found books as well as tiny loose drawings exploring dream imagery around trauma, loss, love, desire and longing. Some of these works have been made after and during periods of psychoanalysis. Themes of protection and descent will be explored, and an acknowledgment that we can gain great riches if we have the courage, wherewithal and support necessary to dive into the areas of ourselves which might be buried alive, frozen, grieving or wounded.
There will be short passages of writing to support the exhibition.
Here is an extract:
Trauma is being without the ability to protect yourself (you are vulnerable to predators). You allow a man you know only slightly (but have reservations about) into your home at night. He brings cans of special brew with him and you don’t know that’s a red flag. Your father didn’t teach you how to protect yourself. The young man with the beer tells you you’re beautiful before he says he’ll kill you if you don’t make him some tea. You freeze in terror, your dogs do nothing. You think of your young son upstairs in bed. You make tea for the man. You wait in agony placating him and when he’s drunk his tea you somehow get him out of the house (I don’t remember how) then you dial 999 and they come with a big van and they take him away. He makes a lot of noise when they catch him outside my house. The neighbours do nothing, say nothing.
Trauma can be loving someone who doesn’t love you in return. It’s loving when it’s hopeless, it’s loving when he hurts you over and over again, it’s loving the man who must in some way be like your father, that man whose love you needed and wanted but never received.
He’s the man who writes to you and tells you the passion, the charge between you, will never be enacted. You cry in your Venetian hotel room, soft and silent tears. Your grown son is with you, he hears your silent crying and sits up, soothing you, and telling you what you know. In the night I think he’s an angel when he brushes my arm with the lightest of touches.
Here are links to the workshop on March 18th, which will begin with a short talk on the exhibition.
Photographs by Sally Tripptree and the artist.