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Gary L. Wolfe

Gary L. Wolfe

(b. 1950)
Born: Buffalo, N.Y., U.S.

Gary L. Wolfe is a Western New York artist, working in painting, drawing, monotypes, video and mixed media. With familial ties in Western New York dating back at least four generations, Wolfe has lived, worked and studied in Buffalo throughout his entire life. He continues to work as an artist and consultant and is currently based in Tonawanda.[1]

Wolfe received his undergraduate degrees in Christian Ministries from Houghton College and in Psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. For 28 years, he spent his professional career with the Erie County government working in health and human services, planning, developing and delivering resources to communities in need.[2] Assisting these communities along with his various life experiences have inspired much of Wolfe’s artistic direction. He began producing and showcasing his art and returned to school to get his Master’s in Painting and Art History from the University at Buffalo.

His pieces focus on highlighting the experiences of communities that have been marginalized, including the elderly, the disenfranchised and the poor. Themes of pain, suffering, vulnerability and alienation are reoccurring in his portraits. He notes in his artist statement that he focuses on these issues in an effort to address and critique them:

“I focus on the figure in order to address fundamental and contemporary human concerns; birth, suffering, innocence, vulnerability, technology dependence, economic disparity, aging and death. My work is highly influenced by my years working in human services. I desire to create work that is conceptual as well as humanist, critical as well as aesthetic.”[3]

Wolfe has served as past-president of the Buffalo Society of Artists, taught as an adjunct instructor at Daemen College and served as a board member and consultant to local arts organizations. In 2013, Wolfe received the Arts and Community Service Award from the Homeless Alliance of WNY for his collaborative work with the Matt Urban Hope Center on his exhibition “Out of Darkness: Putting a Face on Homelessness.” Exhibited in the Artspace Buffalo Gallery, the series featured painted portraits of individuals who have battled with chronic homelessness. Accompanying the portraits were quotes from each person, sharing something they would like the public to know about homelessness through their experience. The series helped raise public awareness about the issue of homelessness in Western New York, and allowed people who have often been overlooked, to finally be seen.

Now a full-time artist, Wolfe’s works have been exhibited nationally. His paintings have been shown in Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston and Ann Arbor. Most recently, Wolfe has been featured in solo exhibitions at Canisius College, Pausa art house and St. Paul’s Cathedral in Buffalo. His work has been selected for group exhibitions at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, the Erie Art Museum in Erie, PA and Fowler-Kellogg Art Center in Chautauqua, NY.

[1] “Gary Wolfe Artist Resume,” Burchfield Penney Artist File.

[2] “Gary Wolfe Artist Resume,” Burchfield Penney Artist File.

[3] “Gary Wolfe Artist Statement,” Burchfield Penney Artist File.