VISIONARY REVUE

      Beside them stand the male and female figures of ‘the Fool’ and ‘Temperance’ from the Tarot Arcana. Meanwhile, the red and blue pillars are a reference to the Chokmah and Binah branches of the Cabbalist Tree of Life, the masculine and feminine principles of force and form. But, they also evoke the Joachin and Boaz pillars of Freemasonry. They are crowned with the baton and the cup (each a suit from the Tarot’s minor Arcana) and, above them, the Sun and Moon – symbols once more of the masculine and feminine. Arranged along the left and right of the canvas, all of these images symbolize opposite aspects of the One, as its male and female principles.
      Yet, we notice that the series of images along the middle axis form symbols of the male and female principles in union. They begin with the entwining snakes of the caduceus, and ascend to the entwining dragons. Then, in that same constellation of images, we behold the alchemical symbols of the Doppeladler (two-headed eagle) and the hermaphroditus. All of these symbols, arising from a variety of cultural traditions, unite the male and female opposites into one form.
      If we now concentrate our vision into a form of meditation, we may attempt to ‘enter through’ the images. Each distinctive symbol in Johfra’s painting becomes a doorway. And the combination of different symbols offers us instead a series of doorways which may be entered though in succession until we arrive at a vision of the One.
      By looking to the left and right of the painting, we behold the One as divided into its unique, male and female aspects. And yet, by turning our glance to the middle, we behold combinatory images of those male and female aspects in union.



 
 
 


PARIS - SPRING 2003

GEMINI
1975

(Click image
to enlarge)

      Beginning our meditation on the symbols located on the periphery of the painting, we see the arrangement in terms of opposition: male is separate from female, (as is left from right and above from below). And so, through these images of male and female in separation, a kind of Creation myth occurs, in which the One divides into the many through a series of descending opposites. We descend through the cosmos and its ‘Chain of Being’.

      This transpires, first of all, in the upper heavens – the division of the sun and moon; the heavens and the earth (as indicated ‘above and below’). This is followed by its division into human forms – the male and female figures from the Tarot; the celestial Twins of Babylonian astrology; and the Fall they undergo in the form of Adam and Eve. As it continues to divide into gender opposites, the One descends further into primæval creatures and principles: the two dragons with their tails wrapped around the Chokmah and Binah pillars. And finally, simple objects also reflect this division: the phallic baton and womb-like cup of the Tarot. All emanate from the One in descending steps of male and female opposites.




 
 
 


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