VISIONARY REVUE

GALLERY INTERIOR
GALERIE LA LICORNE (Interior)
On the wall is Ellen Lórien's
Passage Through the Night

      A larger painting, executed after Johfra’s death, depicts the artist in three natural scenes: on the right, he is caressing a unicorn; at the centre he is being ferried across a river in a Venetian gondola; and on the left, Johfra is walking up some stone stairs towards the light.

PASSAGE THROUGH
THE NIGHT

      On another wall was an older painting by Ellen - Passage Through the Night, of a meditating pyramidal figure within a glass sphere, traversing a dark ocean. And on top of the sphere, an angelic being who is a source of light in that darkness. Ellen explained that she saw this image when she was in a very dark time in her life.

      Emmy showed us some of the books where Ellen’s work had been used on the covers. I was particularly struck by one work of a standing figure rendered in classical Greek style, but with a Buddhist visage. This figure was standing amid vegetation, shining with light. In fact, rays of light where shining outward from the visage to flowers emerging from the dark, dense vegetation. The whole composition showed a deep spiritual connection with nature.
      Another striking image showed a woman crouched down upon a rock, surrounded by a kind of aura. Within this aura was an inner light and the flowers


 
 
 


PARIS - SPRING 2003

THE GALLERY: EXTERIOR
GALERIE LA LICORNE (Exterior)
Johfra's studio is above
on the second floor.

were growing. Only when you looked a bit closer at the background did you notice that everything around her was dark and dead in cold winter. Ellen explained that the Springtime and its growth, like the sun, must come from within.
      We sat together in the living room before the large fireplace and talked. Ellen told us how she used to live on a houseboat on the Seine, while involved with a singer who sang at the Moulin Rouge. From photos, it appeared to be a very bohemian atmosphere.
            Most importantly, we talked about visionary art and what it was all about. The attempt to capture visions in paint. I asked her where the inspiration for many of her images came from - particularly her works of Nature. And she said it was all feeling - that you had to have the feeling for Nature first, and then images like this naturally appeared to give those feelings form.
      She didn’t remember her dreams, like Johfra did. But many of her images came from these strong feelings. When she was painting, those feelings returned to her and guided her as she painted. Gerrit lamented that Johfra was not here, as it would have been wonderful for me to meet him.
      Ellen went to bed, but the four of us stayed up a bit longer. From the works of Johfra’s I’ve seen so far, and from talking to Ellen, it becomes clear that there is much more to his oeuvre than the esoteric works for which he is best known. There are times when he allowed a free play of his imagination. The surrealist works, the humour, the spiritual search in the later works, using not so much esoteric symbols but images of striving and transcendence nonetheless.




 
 
 


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