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A Closer Look: Gary Wolfe's 'The Violinist'

Artist: Gary Wolfe // Title: "The Violinist" // On view through Friday in Starlight Studio and Gallery and on June 13 in the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site

For artists, Allentown has long served as a creative haven.

Though the neighborhood is changing as rents rise, it still retains its gritty character and summertime bustle -- two irresistible elements that inspired painter Gary Wolfe to produce his series "A Musical Interlude," which ends its run Friday in Starlight Studio and Gallery. It will return on June 13 to the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site to coincide with the Allentown Art Festival.

Among Wolfe's many scenes of the neighborhood's vibrant street life is a portrait of the violinist David Adamczyk, an Allentown fixture and Infringement Festival organizer instantly recognizable to festivalgoers and Allen Street denizens.

"I was immediately drawn to the violinist," Wolfe wrote in an email, "Aesthetically because of the color and textural possibilities and psychologically because of the absorption in art that was seen in the musician, in spite of seemingly being ignored by the passerby."

A closer look at the painting:


The textured pieces, which are made from oil paint and encaustic applied to tar paper, emerged from Wolfe's earlier series on homeless men and women in Erie County.

"In each painted portrait are passers-by who do not seem to be giving attention, much less donations to the buskers’ art," Wolfe wrote in his artist's statement. "Each individual figure seems to be absorbed within their own psychic space, even as they were present among others. The musicians are immersed in the execution of their art while others are engaged in conversation, occupied in making a point, absorbed with their own thoughts or focused on some other goal."

Two more paintings from the series:

"Street Duet":


"87 Inc. (The Observer)":



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