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PRESS PHOTO BY ED COURRIERLehigh Valley-based artist Kacper Abolik with “Dogs V1” (acrylic, oil and ink on paper and canvas; 12 in. x 12 in.). Copyright - © Ed Courrier PRESS PHOTO BY ED COURRIERLehigh Valley-based artist Kacper Abolik with “Dogs V1” (acrylic, oil and ink on paper and canvas; 12 in. x 12 in.). Copyright - © Ed Courrier

Kacper Abolik in Baum exhibition

Saturday, October 12, 2019 by Ed Courrier Special to The Press in Focus

Celebrating celebrity and other subjects, Emmaus-based artist Kacper Abolik’s exhibition, “Year of the Dog,” continues through Oct. 18 in the David E. Rodale and Rodale Family Galleries, The Baum School of Art, Allentown.

The abstract painter’s work includes bouquets, stylized copies of famous artwork, and portraits of famous people.

His recently-created cityscape of Allentown is on display. “Allentown Center City,” (2019; mixed media on glass; 19.25 in. x 14.75 in.) provides an energetic nighttime view of the monument at Hamilton and Seventh streets.

Abolik is scheduling free portrait sittings Mondays at the Baum School with an option to purchase the paintings.

Abolik, a first-generation American born to Polish immigrants, is a protégé of artist Barnaby Ruhe, who took him under his wing at a young age.

“He’s like a second father to me,” says Abolik.

In addition to his mentor’s influence, Abolik finds inspiration from “Chinese characters, eastern ideology and spirituality, and iconic art and artists throughout history, which he intertwines with modern figures,” according to a posted description of his work.

After graduating from Parkland High School in 2012, Abolik attended college in Warsaw, Poland, to study Chinese language and culture.

Abolik considers himself a visual reporter of the contemporary celebrity-obsessed age of information. He repurposes well-known images, looking to inspire a new perspective on people or objects that have appeared multiple times in popular culture.

“Celebrity and fashion are just so important to me,” Abolik says.

His celebrity work includes lively portraits commissioned by rapper Playboi Carti and rapper and hip hop musician A$AP Rocky. On view are portraits of Madonna, fashion stylist Lotta Volkova, and French business magnate and art collector Bernard Jean Étienne Arnault.

As with “Dogs V1” (2019; acrylic, oil, ink on paper and canvas; 12 in. x 12 in.), the artist renders his subjects in what he says are “combinations of different materials.”

“This is my first time drawing dogs,” says Abolik, “I think dogs are quite magic.”

Although he is rooted in the Lehigh Valley, either painting out of his mother Urszula Abolik’s Amber Collections shop, Emmaus, or Ruhe’s farm studio in the Emmaus area, the footloose artist has been living and working in New York City, Warsaw, Paris, and Costa Rica.

Following the success of the live painting sessions at Ruhe’s “Regenesis” exhibit and related events in 2018, Baum School of Art Executive Director Shannon Fugate decided to plan something similar with Abolik. She credited art collector Pam Dent with introducing her to the young painter’s work.

Live painting by Abolik will be featured at Baum’s Fall Gala, honoring Janet and Malcolm Gross, Oct. 19, at the Barrister’s Club, Allentown.

The exhibit is sponsored by City Center Allentown and J.B. and Kathleen Reilly.

Baum School of Art Gallery hours: 9 a.m. - 9:30 p.m. Monday - Thursday, 9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Closed Sunday.; 610-433-0032