Jack Kerouac lost his beloved older brother Gerard to rheumatic fever when he was just 4 and Gerard was 9.
He ponders his loss in Visions of Gerard, a meditative book that is unique among his novels, since it focuses on the scenes and sensations of childhood as they were revealed in the short tragic-happy life that the saintly Gerard lived.
"It is an unsettling, beautiful and sad exploration of the meaning and precariousness of existence," said artist Barbara Gagel, who uses encaustic print and painting methods to capture the beauty of Kerouac's words in abstract pieces.
Gagel's prints and paintings are featured in The Divine and Perfect Ecstasy, An Abstract Interpretation of Jack Kerouac's Visions of Gerard on view Oct. 11-Nov. 3 at the Ayer Lofts Gallery, 172 Middle St., Lowell.
The opening reception is Friday, Oct. 11, 5-8 p.m., and the gallery will also be open during Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Weekend, Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 12-13, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Roger Brunelle, a well-known Kerouac expert and tour guide, will talk on Discovering Jack's Vision on Saturday, Oct. 12, at 1 p.m.
The gallery is open Oct. 19-20, Oct. 26-27 and Nov. 2-3, noon-5 p.m.
Visit ayerlofts.com for details.
- LOCAL SCENE: Come meet Nora Burchfield, new executive director of the New England Quilt Museum and Elizabeth Kegley, new executive director of the Merrimack Repertory Theatre on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 5:30-7 p.m. at Whistler House Museum of Art, 243 Worthen St., Lowell. Hosts are philanthropist Nancy Donahue, The Cultural Organization of Lowell and the Greater Lowell Community Foundation... A group show, currently on view at the recently renovated Loading Dock Gallery at Western Avenue Studios, 122 Western Ave., Lowell, features paintings by Denise Rainis, Nita Leger Casey, Paula Mingolelli, Sus Iserbyt, David Drinon and Tom Viers, plus ceramic work by Glenn Szegedy and the Muddy Girls, Barbara Guilmet and Samantha Tucker. Photographer Jack Holmes and digital artists Laura Doran and Bruce Wood are showing new images, plus Tarja Cockell and other textile artists have innovative pieces on display. The show continues Wednesdays-Saturdays, noon-5:30 p.m. and Sundays, noon-4 p.m. Visit theloadingdockgallery.com for info...
- AFRICAN ART: The African Gallery at the Fitchburg Art Museum has been refreshed with new and never-before-seen works of African art. In addition, the museum is partnering with the Gallery of African Art in nearby Clinton to provide art lovers with an array of experiences from the vast continent. In Clinton, Crocodile Music is offering West African Drumming Lessons every Wednesday with a youth session, 4-4:45 p.m. and an adult class, 5:30-7 p.m. Visit fitchburgartmuseum.org or galleryofafricanart.org.
- CALL FOR ARTISTS: The Cambridge Street Art Gallery, located in Burlington High School, has issued a call for artists who'd like to show their work here. Open since spring, 2010, the gallery offers high profile visibility in the school with its location by the cafeteria. Requirements include submitting proposals to the gallery via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include 10-20 images of artwork, an artist statement and resume. Work must be appropriate for high school students. The gallery can feature videos, two-dimensional works or sculpture. Call Peg Allegretto at 781-273-7662 for details.
Nancye Tuttle's email address is email@example.com.