VISIONARY REVUE

       On the last day, Sunday, we drove to the market in Rouffignac, where fresh goat’s cheese was bought for lunch, and Florence and I picked up a couple of bottles of Bergerac for Paris. Once again, we got caught in the rain, and ended up huddling under the vendor’s stalls, joking...
      Coming back to Moulin du Peuch, we had a wonderful lunch together, again full of warmth and laughter.
      After that, I visited Johfra’s studio alone, which is above the gallery. Near the window was a telescope which he had built himself, and near the easel were other optical instruments for painting. I examined the specimens he’d collected from nature - the skulls of cats, foxes and so on with their curvilinear forms. Old gnarled tree trucks showing the patterns of growth. Coral, crystals, and many different textures of earthly and underwater growth. His books as well reflected these fascinations - for example a Dover book on Natural Forms of Growth for Art.
      The paintings there, unfinished, showed me how he began first with a smaller painted sketch. Then, this was enlarged (with an overhead projection device he’d built himself) and transfered onto a canvas or board. Then came a grey or light brown underpainting, establishing especially degrees of contrast and atmosphere. After that, he started glazing colour.
      His bedroom was attached directly to the studio. Aside from the single bed, this was primarily a library. It was clear he had collected every possible book on Surrealism and Fantastic art, as well as more the more Classical periods. Many reference books on anatomy, nature, and so on. He also had a large collection of esoteric works - the Kabbala, Tarot, Astrology, etc.



 
 
 


PARIS - SPRING 2003

      One of the more interesting and surprising finds - for me - was the same books which fascinated me as a child and teenager. For example, Gifford’s A Pictorial History of Horror Movies, Creepy magazine, Heavy Metal (Druillet) and Omni. It was so strange to find those books and magazines from my childhood here.
      Before leaving, Florence and I said thanks and gave Ellen a couple of presents - a catalogue from the Parfums de Femmes exhibition and a drawing I made for her. She liked the drawing of the gryphon very much and said she would hang it between Johfra’s Gryphon painting and the Fuchs’ etching. I also gave Gerrit a signed copy of the Manifesto of Visionary Art. Ellen presented us with the large monograph on Johfra and another book on the Meta-Realists. We all began writing dedications in the books we’d exchanged...
      Then, Ellen said goodbye because Gerrrit and Emmy were driving us to the train station. Very warmly, we took our leave of each other - giving a strong heartfelt kiss on the cheek and promising that we’d meet again.




END



 
 
 


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