VISIONARY REVUE


      "Indeed, timelessness is much more interesting than modernity because it forces the artist to seek the essential in the depths of his own mind and mysteries of the elements themselves. Through his prodigious faculty of creation, the visionary artist attempts to grasp the secrets hidden in all things." (7)
      For Random, 'the secret hidden in all things' is, above all, a vision of unity: "What is man's quest, if not for that unity hidden within all things - in life, love, the world, metaphysics and religion?" (8) And he elaborates: "In the same way that time, space, energy and matter are fundamental expressions of a single totality, the mineral, vegetable, animal and human are also expressions of a single language. The Promised Land is there, in the eye that marvels at the visionary totality. An art that recovers this plenitude of being necessarily returns to the source of wonder." (9)
      In a final stirring declaration he concludes: "Man can recover the ancient language of the gods." (10)


MASTERY OF TECHNIQUE

      Last of all, a 'mastery of technique' is evident in all Visionary works: "Without mastery of technique," Sérane assures us "no solid work may exist - much less a Visionary work of art. For, the greater the originality of the work, the more accomplished its technique must be. An artist may have the most beautiful ideas in the world. But, if he doesn't have the power to express them through a perfectly mastered technique, then it is only his clumsiness that will show or, worse, his impotence. ...
      "Of course, perfection of technique must blend with the vision. It is not enough to be fascinated by technique alone. Besides the means (the technique), there must also be the work ( the vision)."
(11)
      Random agrees with Sérane that a mastery of craftsmanship is essential: "Before being inspired, art is a skill, thoroughly mastered, whether it be etching, lithograph, drawing or painting. Then inspiration can flourish." (12)


VISION AS AN ALCHEMICAL PROCESS

      This mastery of technique is necessary because the act of rendering a visionary work becomes, in itself, a process of transformation. Both writers liken art-making to the alchemical process.


 
 
 


PARIS - FALL 2004


      "Visionary art is alchemical," Random writes, "in the sense that the work is seen by the artist as an instrument for his own transformation and growth - mutation and maturation in one. It is the artist who is made by the work, rather than the work by him... creation is like the quest for the grail: it opens itself up to the Water of Life, which is to say, immortality. (13)
      Meanwhile, for Sérane, the alchemy of art is also a quest for Light. "The visionary is on a continuous quest for the secret stone that transforms all the elements...Such an alchemical vision, in its attempt to 'capture the light', has haunted and continues to haunt the imagination of all painters. For them, painting is, above all, an act of faith, an adventure of the spirit where each act of creation dares to transform itself into a collective memory-image. For such artists, art is the attempt to expose the light hidden in all things." (14)
      And yet, like Icarus flying into the sun, this blinding light must be sought - even if the artist tumbles back to earth, his wings consumed by the blaze. Sérane expands upon his idea of light, claiming, "This light must be awakened if a work is to ever breathe with life. It is not enough to simply pursue a certain technique, if this ends in the betrayal of dreams. The truly 'visionary' artist is at the mercy of his dreams, for it is they who decide the true moment of their incarnation..." (15)

VOYAGER I - Michel Henricot


 
 
 


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