VISIONARY REVUE

LIBRA
1974

SCORPIO
1974

SAGITTARIUS
1974

      The strange arrangements of symbols in his works intrigue us. They delight the eye and draw us in. And so, to understand them better, we freely engage on a quest for understanding, discovering in this text and that certain passages which elucidate the imagery, rendering it transparent to the transcendent source.
      The Hermetic philosophers are agreed that our initial fascination with a symbol is, in fact, a kind of recognition. We are drawn to the image because it shows us something that we knew once, but had forgotten.
      Certain key works from Johfra’s Hermetic period have that ‘initially intriguing’ quality. They draw in the eye again and again until, at a deeper level, they become objects of meditation. For the artist himself, who spent many hours each day looking at the images as he rendered them into form, this practice of ‘meditation on images’ arose naturally. In the process of painting the Zodiac Series, Johfra wrote that “as I worked, each painting became an act of meditation.”(Astrology p.1)
      And so, Johfra’s Hermetic works must be approached in this way - as images for meditation. The deeper we penetrate into the symbols and their elucidating texts, the more we will discover their implicit Hermetic message: that to know ourselves is to remember our forgotten origins in the divine.



 
 
 


PARIS - SPRING 2003

CAPRICORN
1974

AQUARIUS
1974

PISCES
1974

      “The man who has learned to know himself will at the same time discover whence he comes,” Plotinus said (Enneads VI. 9. 7). And the Poimandres added, “He who has understood himself, advances towards God.” (Corpus Hermeticum I. 21). Johfra’s images serve to initiate us in this way.
      In examining these works as objects of meditation, their Hermetic philosophies will be offered only as an aid to ‘enter through the image.’ This expression is taken from a Gnostic text, and describes their belief that images, fundamentally, are a means of returning in our mind’s meditations to a remembrance of our origins.
      Especially under consideration will be three of Johfra’s early works, and their Gnostic philosophy. Then, we shall turn to his Vision of Hermes Trismegistos and its Hermetic philosophy, followed by his Unio Mystica and its Neo-Platonic philosophy. Finally the Gemini painting from the Zodiac Series will be offered as an example of how each of the twelve paintings in that series manifests all these philosophies in combination. In each case, we shall not attempt merely to interpret or elucidate their symbols, but to enter through them in an act of mindful contemplation.





 
 
 


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