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Aporia of St. Jack

Jack Kerouac Series #2

30" X 40"


original sold

(click on picture to make larger)

Notes on Aporia of St. Jack

The term, aporia, as I intended it for the title of this painting, is defined as "an irresolvable internal contradiction or logical disjunction". Most of us have internal contradictions and logical disjunctions, but we try to keep them hidden from others and from ourselves. Many of the "Subterraneans" not only present their internal contradictions in their writtings for all to see, but seem to sometimes glorify those disjunctions. I am not sure that Jack Kerouac was as aware of many of his internal contradictions as were some of the other writers in this group.

Without exhausting thier meanings too much let's look at several of the disjunctions or contradictions that I have tried to present in this painting:

The central figure of Kerouac is "St. Jack". He is portrayed as a beat saint painted as a Tibetian Buddhist "thangka"which would seem to represent the end of a lifelong journey. The start of the journey is represented by the zero (0) tarot card. This card which is sometimes named "The Fool" is shown here as "The Bhikku". The Bhikku or the young wandering Zen Buddhist monk, is at the beginning of the spiritual journey and just as the young fool can at the end of his journey become the "Holy Fool" so the bhikku can become the Zen master or the hermit possessed of "crazy wisdom". Contrast the other Kerouac, who ended as somewhat of hermit, put off by fame, highly patriotic, and constantly inebriated, draped by an American flag, a tiger-headed curmudgeon ranting against the other beat writers and the so-called "beat generation" as a bunch of leftwing commies.

In this painting we see the two major representations of the feminine for Kerouac: whores or saints. On the left side of the painting we see the sexual objectification of the feminine shown as both anonymous and dangerous throught the use of the "Dracula Orchid" in place of her head. Behind the nude is Kerouac hiding behind a mask, or public personna that does not show his true feelings. On the right side of the painting we see Kerouac's other concept of the feminine in the guise of a plaster saint or Madonna with a sacred heart that is being pierced by daggers. The feminine as suffering in silence. Behind her we see Kerouoac as uncompleted...unfinished.

Kerouac, the stay-at-home, tiger-headed curmudgeon, is confronted by a "day of the dead" representation of a bride, a bottle of wine that contains "the blood of Christ" and a statue of the Aztec god of hallucinogens, "Xochipilli". His younger, more social and gregarious self, is digging the music of a sax player....maybe Charlie Parker. He is painted in black and white because he represents Kerouac's self as he appears in his and other "beat's writings.