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BUFFIE JOHNSON PAINTINGS FOR SALE

FROM THE EARLY SIXTIES ABSTRACTIONS

AND FROM THE SPIRALS AND SERPENTS, BULLS,

SCORPIONS, SUNS AND MOONS PERIOD 1960-1968


(ALL PAINTINGS ARE OIL ON CANVAS)

“Buffie Johnson una Pintora que Evoca la Epoca de la Creacion.”

El Sol de Mexico, Mexico, D. F. Miercoles 17 de Agosto de 1966.

BUFFIE JOHNSON,

CYCLICAL TIME II, 1961.

36” X 42” [N/A]

BUFFIE JOHNSON,

EGG OF CHAOS IV, 1965.

38” X 59.75”

PRIVATE COLLECTION

BUFFIE JOHNSON,

THE ETERNAL PRESENT II, 1963.

36” X 42”

BUFFIE JOHNSON, HIEROS GAMOS PHASE FIFTEEN, 1961.  40” X 68”

BUFFIE JOHNSON,

LAUDAMUS, 1964.

25” X 28”

PRIVATE COLLECTION

BUFFIE JOHNSON,

ON THE FIRST DAY, 1965.

40” X 48” [N/A]

BUFFIE JOHNSON,

SUMERIAN GENESIS No. 1, 1964.

25” X 30”

“In William Butler Yeats’s vision of the Great Wheel of Life, Phase Fifteen represents the perfection of the coming together of opposites – in this instance – of sun and moon, mascu-line and feminine: the ancient sacred marriage, or Hieros Gamos.”

(Tracy Boyd, citing W. B. Yeats, A Vision, 1938.)

BUFFIE JOHNSON,

THE SUBTILEST BEAST OF THE FIELD, 1964.  50” X 78”

“A drift of golden-yellow forms enter a canvas and below them as though a plant were reaching out its leaves along extended boughs, there are supple strokes of green. The space behind them is of infinity.”

(Literary critic and poet, Horace Gregory’s rhapsodic description of Cyclical Time II in “The Transcendentalism of Buffie Johnson”

in Art International, Vol. IX, No. 8, November 20, 1965, page 14.)

“Another moment of spontaneous light is a small can-vas called [On] The First Day where out of blackness an orange lit spiral seems to be perpetually rising.”

(Horace Gregory, “The Transcendentalism of Buffie Johnson” in Art International, Vol. IX, No. 8, November 20, 1965, page 14.)

“The recent paintings may be divided into two series of related visions, the first a group of flower-stem-branch-leaf-like images, the second, a group of images that seem to have grown out of the first in forms that are associated with figures of the Zodiac (of which the shadow of Taurus, the Bull is one) and of a world where images of a snake, a forked lightning-bolt, perhaps from the hand of Jove, and a spiralling circle – associated with the sun and moon and the coiled snake – are written characters and signatures.” (Horace Gregory, “The Transcendentalism of Buffie Johnson” in Art International, Vol. IX, No. 8, November 20, 1965, page 14.)

THE CONTINUING INFLUENCE OF “INCONSEQUENTIAL” EARLY WORK


“For a very brief time from 1946 to 1947, Buffie Johnson experimented with spiraling semi-abstractions that incorporated bits and pieces of exquisitely rendered tiny creatures from the world of nature.  There would appear to be a distinct relationship between those very tentative early works – “impermanent” is the word that the artist herself used to described them – and much of what came after.  These few seemingly inconsequen-tial works encapsulated in microcosmic miniature, what was to evolve into an expan-siveness of vision that incorporated the starry skies of the whole firmament. 


This same largeness of seeing is evident in all of the periods that follow: the “Astor Mural” period and beyond, from 1947 to 1959; the astronomical inspirations of the Spirals and Serpents, Bulls, Scorpions, Suns and Moons of 1961 to 1968; and in the artist’s final propulsion into outer space with the purist abstractions of her Numbering Series from 1989 until she could no longer see to paint.  In a very different way, the very down-to-earth muted renderings of the monumental single-image plant forms, painstakingly created from 1968 until the artist embarked on her return to the heavens with Tantric-inspired numbers, are overwhelming in their effect.  One is humbled by them.” (Tracy Boyd, “From the Very Beginning . . .” © 2008 at <www.buffiejohnson.com>)

BUFFIE JOHNSON,

HYMN TO THE GARDEN OF THE GODDESS, 1947.

(OIL ON PANEL)

48” X 60” [N/A]

BUFFIE JOHNSON,

VORTEX, 1947.

(OIL ON PANEL)

24” X 32.5” [N/A]

BUFFIE JOHNSON,

GODDESS’ WEDDING DAY, 1947.

(OIL ON PANEL)

48” X 60” [N/A]

IN THE BEGINNING . . .


After Buffie Johnson had painted these brooding and mysterious Egg of Chaos images of “a gigantic serpent spiraling around an egg,” she recalled a Pre-Hellenic Pelasgian creation myth that she thought she had read many years before in Robert Graves’s Greek Myths.  Returning to that source, this is what she found:


  “In the beginning, Eurynome, the Goddess of All Things, rose naked from Chaos,        

    but found nothing substantial for her feet to rest upon, and therefore divided the

    sea from the sky, dancing lonely upon its waves.  She danced towards the south, and

    the wind set in motion behind her seemed something new and apart with which to

    begin a work of creation.  Wheeling about, she caught hold of this north wind, rubbed

    it between her hands, and behold! the great serpent Ophion.  Eurynome danced to

    warm herself, wildly and more wildly, until Ophion, grown lustful, coiled about

    those divine limbs and was moved to couple with her.  Now, the north wind, who

    is called Boreas, fertilizes . . . . So Eurynome was . . . got with child.


    Next, she assumed the form of a dove, brooding on the waves and, in due process of

    time, laid the Universal Egg.  At her bidding, Ophion coiled seven times about this

    egg, until it hatched and split in two.  Out tumbled all things that exist, her children:

    sun, moon, planets, stars, the earth with its mountains and rivers, its trees, herbs,

    and living creatures.”


(Buffie Johnson, Notes from the artist’s Archives: “Abstract” about the Spirals and Serpents period, pages 15-16.  Undated, but written sometime between 1968-69.  She quotes Robert Graves, The Greek Myths. Two Volumes. (Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books Ltd. 1955, 1960), Vol. I,  p. 27.)

After her total immersion in the ultramarine blue twilight of the Astor Murals, Buffie Johnson yearned for the freedom of bold, dancing brushstrokes and sun-yellows.  One reviewer noted that these new paintings evoked the “Epoch of the Creation”.


There was a certain darkness, too, in some of these works, an influence that the artist felt as a constant presence, even as she worked in the brilliant light of the searing Mexican sun.


Out of the spiraling darkness of the middle-to-late Sixties celestially-focused spirals and serpents, bulls, scorpions, suns and moons, evolved the earth-centered single-image plant forms of monumental scale.

BUFFIE JOHNSON, DANCE THE ORANGE (HOMAGE TO H. R.), 1961.  60” X 72”

FROM THE ARTIST’S PERSONAL COLLECTION.

                             . . . dance the taste of the fruit experienced!

                           

                          Dance the orange.  Who can forget it,

                          how, drowning in itself, it resists

                          its being-sweet.  You have possessed it.

                          It has been deliciously converted to you.

                          Dance the orange. . . .

The dedication is in homage to Henri Rousseau, upon whose “Jungle” paintings Buffie Johnson’s Dance the Orange is an abstractionist riff.  The title comes from the 15th of Rainer Maria Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus of February 1922. (Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus. M. D. Herter Norton, Translator. Part I, Sonnet 15.)

BUFFIE JOHNSON,

PASSACAGLIA, 1960.

24” X 19”