January 2023 Edition

Artist Focus

Artist Focus: Elena Zolotnitsky

A closer look at the artwork of Elena Zolotnitsky

As a figurative painter, Elena Zolotnitsky instills in her subjects a psychological, deeply personal affect that allows the resulting composition to tell a story of memoir rather than physical object.Channeling Cezanne, oil on mylar on panel, 11¾ x 11¾"

Born in Moscow, Zolotnitsky moved to the United States in 1991 and has lived in Oakland, California, since 1999. She has carried her painting tradition with her across the globe. Her paintings are observational, capturing landscapes, portraits and still lifes in loose brushwork.

Many of the subjects are imaginary—a liminal stretch of fictitious field, the faces of people that may or may not exist. Her paintings take on an illusory quality, the lines separating subject and background bleeding into each other, the underpainting often showing through. Flowers are interrupted with unexpected colors that appear in the curve of a cheek, chairs that vary from punchy and vibrant to ghostly, the subjects fading into the background.Ghosts of Orquevaux (Extinct Series), oil on mylar, 10½ x 11"

She uses her brushstrokes to set in motion the atmosphere of the painting. Whether the subject is living or nonliving, small or large, it gains its own distinctive character. Inanimate objects speak of emotions and portraits of people gain qualities of landscapes in the planes of their faces.

Zolotnitsky’s paintings are permeated with the emotion of the moment, the subject merely a mannequin cloaked in feeling. It becomes a changing, moving, exploring thing and the act of painting becomes a process of discovery. In her own words, “Since the painting itself is the main subject, it is my main focus. I am left with surface, time, space and my own emotion. It is already too much to handle…they are in transition; they are all becoming, just like myself.”Summertime (The Grid), oil and masking tape on mylar on panel, 26½ x 25½"Her Extinct Series explores the idea of a chair, represented in archetype. Each of them recall Plato’s perfect Forms, but instead of hunting for a single perfect chair, they search for the best representation of a constellation of ideas and emotions embedded in the shape of a chair, evoking a sense of vacancy at the same time.

Zolotnitsky is featured in Breathing Lessons, an exhibition at Sticks Picture Framing & Art in Berkely, California, on view through February 4. —

Want to See More?
Represented by Pryor Fine Art
764 Miami Circle NE, Ste. 132, Atlanta, GA
30324 | (404) 352-8775 | www.pryorfineart.com
Instagram: @elenazolotnitsky

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