I arrived at the brand new Arthaus Gallery in Allentown, Pennsylvania for a three-person show curated by the renowned gallery director Deborah Rabinsky to mark the re-opening of the Allentown art scene and the premiere of a brand-new venue. Meanwhile, this person’s car had overheated, and he made use of free parking across from the jail (as there was no better alternative to be had at the time). He then walked with the assistance of GPS to the virgin art establishment where white biomorphic sculptures by Khalil Allaik redolent of Wilfredo Lam played well against the paintings of svelte fashion models in tall highly shaped hats by Kacper Abolik. These made up only a few of Abolik’s many canvases shown. Though it might at first have seemed like the escapist works by this painter choreographing a sensual parade of European fashion and mythological subjects could have struck the wrong note great moments in the work soon began to present themselves, such as in “Louis Vuitton Fashion Show”. This canvas which is seen from a distance can perhaps be described by relating it to a prominent feature of the Kanazawa Station in Kanazawa, Japan. The new entrance pavilion designed by Ryuzo Shirae and Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa from SANAA (Saejima and Nishizawa and Associates) as seen from afar takes on the form of a Samurai helmet. This painting as seen from a head-on vantage at an ample distance becomes more and more realistic and focused; then begins in an anamorphic manner to mirror the Pierre Auguste Renoir paintings; “Bal du Moulin de la Galette”(1876) and “Luncheon of the Boating Party” (1881) of Joie de Vivre in the garden restaurants of fin de siècle Paris under leafy canopies during the balsam evenings of high summer.
Another work by Abolik “Moon Sphinx V6 (At The Chateau Marmont)” 2020 is of a cat-like person situated in a garden under an arched ceiling with paint peeling and evokes the Belgian symbolist Ferdinand Knopff’s androgynous masterwork “Caress of the Sphinx” which also influenced Guy Peellaert’s cover for the 1974 David Bowie “Diamond Dogs.
Abolik’s works this day were like a walk sur la plage in Cannes or Nice. Curator Rabinsky had placed the color-saturated works in two bisected rows and there were by turns notes of Modigliani, high fashion, la dolce vita along the Grand Canal between the Piazza San Marco and the Arsenale in Venice, and the relaxation to be found on the Cote ‘d’ Azur. She called it “her French wall”, though there was plenty of Italian in evidence as well, then again, the Riviera just slips on in.
I said to myself could this possibly be the same Kacper Abolik who appropriated for himself the photo I took of Diddy at the “Billionaires” opening event at Miami Art Basel when his Puffyness was with Swiss Beatz and his bodyguard said, “Sean is just here to look at the art “…
Of course, in the years since Kacper has become a favorite of ASAP Rocky who employed Abolik’s portrait of the rapper on his website as well as the celebrate stylist, model, and fashion designer Bloody Osiris who makes for such a tidy rhyme with Miley Cyrus. He has also been celebrated online by Nike and during an ebb in the pandemic, the Hamptons based whirlwind socialite art curator Pamela Willoughby included him in her group exhibit culled from the stable of Tribeca’s Salomon Fine Arts at New York City’s most talked-about private gathering spot of the moment, the Norwood Club.
Abolik’s works are exuberant and tend to be as if a foppish romp through the annals of the last few centuries of Western painting including surrealism, Impressionism, symbolism, and cubism. Finally, sometimes the work will make you stand aghast at his moments of virtuosity.