Lynn based artist Cat de Leon pays tribute to one of New England’s finest writers with her show “Up You Go, Little Smoke – ‘The Holy Hipness of Jack Kerouac’ celebrating the life of Jack Kerouac at Gallery 119 Lowell, from October 10th to November 1st.
The artist explores Jack’s Road metaphor as one of a spiritual journey in search of connection with divinity. His vocabulary and observations pinpoint the holiness in his comrades, and in us all, from the lowliest junkie hustler, to the most humble Lowell mill worker.
His search for ‘the golden eternity’ which had him teetering between the Catholicism of his youth, and the Buddhism of his adulthood was the Road he traveled to his ultimate death and martyrdom. The artist endeavors to reflect this through a diverse selection of work, ranging from seven charcoal portraits, five acrylic paintings on windows showing Jack as the ‘Holy Saint of the Road’ through to text art posters and a typist in absence installation (vintage typewriter complete with blank scroll, empty chair with an old red plaid shirt draped over it. Guests can type their messages to Jack) and in keeping with his deeply held Catholic belief ‘epistles in a bottle.’ (Empty bottles of wine, whiskey and beer with rolled up paper, artist’s observations and messages to and about Jack about his work and journey)
Cat de Leon recognizes that Kerouac’s work was as much spoken as written, has been translated in a multitude of languages, and his legacy and message has touched the world and crossed cultural borders. The installation celebrates this with an audio collage of people from around the globe reciting a passage pieced together from the film, Pull My Daisy which questions ‘what is holy?’
Kerouac’s unique blend of the spoken word, literature allied to the beat of jazz will be celebrated with a special performance from his friend and collaborator David Amram during the Opening Reception on Sunday, October 12, 7pm.
On Up You Go, little Smoke- ‘The Holy Hipness of Jack Kerouac’, Cat de Leon stated: “I have been dancing with Jack Kerouac for the better part of 35 years. At times it has been like an amphetamine driven frenzied bop, at others, like a slow, standstill sway in a hashish haze. Whatever the pace, the relationship has been symbiotic with breaks of rebellion as one does from one’s parent. In all this time, my life still draws parallels with Jack’s, and I have tried, sometimes in vain, not to repeat his mistakes.”