Painting for me is a magic act, when the combination of oil paint, a bit of imagination and a lot of heart create something alive that other people can relate to on an emotional level. And that is what art does, I think - it transforms energy of labor into feelings.
"Beauty always offers its own form of seduction" ~ Elizabeth George
Beauty is my inspiration. Over the past few years my art has become increasingly personal and intimate, focusing more on the raw physicality of painting. My favorite medium is oil paint, either on canvas, board or on heavy paper. I use a lot of gold leaf. It increases my spectrum of flatness and brings in more drama in shape. As I build layer upon layer of contrasting hues and textures, I am driven more by my pursuit of the formal concerns of painting instead of by my desire to relate a narrative. Yet I remain always a figurative artist, one who feels a special affinity for the craft, subtlety, and peace of Flemish art and the art of Balthus. My goal is to create paintings that are both.
In paintings that define delicacy, Elena Zolotnistky offers a chance to wonder at the gorgeousness of a figure or flower as well as her virtuosity in handling the viscous media of oil paint. Beauty is her inspiration” but Elena’s goal as a painter is also clear … “to create paintings that are both well-crafted and probe deeply into the mystery of the medium itself, widening the spectrum of that which is portrayed.” Her surfaces are polar visual experiences of thick and thin, opaque and translucent paint resting effortlessly alongside one another. Inquiry into why or how she decides which color, texture, or mark will be used reveals a work so carefully constructed that all parts serve the harmonious resolution of the whole painting.
Her formal choices express a painting’s focus and relate a subject’s story. Why is one part well defined and others softly muted? Elena contends with the mystery present in her work by declaring, “Painting for me is a magic act, when the combination of oil paint, a bit of imagination and a lot of heart create something alive that other people can relate to on an emotional level. And that is what art does, I think - it transforms energy of labor into feelings.”
Dr. Galina Tuluzakova, Deputy Director of the State Fine Arts Museum of The Republic of Tatarstan, Russia, describes the universal nuance elicited from Elena’s seemingly traditional subject matter, “Her portraits and still-lives are taken out of context, time, and space. She is interested not in individuals but in archetypes; not in the specific but in the essential.” Her work embraces subjectivity in storytelling; not telling us who her subject is by facts, but rather how she feels about that person or place and how we should perceive them.
Intimate and often vulnerable or frail spaces, flowers, and vague individuals inhabit Elena’s paintings. She succeeds in elevating the ordinary into the extraordinary in her graceful approach and selectivity. In her work, profoundly special moments of the everyday are infused with spirituality and purpose, much like the Flemish painters, such as Vermeer, of the early Northern Renaissance whom she credits as her mentors. Dr. Tuluzakova notes that, “Beneath Elena Zolotnisky’s seemingly static art works there are hidden powerful emotions conveyed through saturated, contrasting colors. The depth and volume of her vivid constructions are the leitmotif of her art and the very foundation of her artistic world where loneliness and the fragility of beauty are not reasons for melancholy.”
Elena has been awarded artist fellowships at the Vermont Studio Centers and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. Her work has been featured in exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Art, the San Diego Art Institute, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Hood College, the American Museum of Illustration. She has received professional grants and awards of recognition from the Paul Beckett Foundation, the Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts, and the Society of Publication Design. She graduated from the Moscow Cinema Academy in 1986 with the MA in Fine Art and Animation. Elena Zolotnitsky is a native of Moscow and currently lives and works in Oakland, CA.
Animation. Elena Zolotnitsky is a native of Moscow and currently lives in Oakland, C
2009 Paul Mahder Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2009 Franklin Bowles Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2009 B. Boeltz Gallery, Denver, CO
2006 SFMOMA Artists Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2005 Barbara Anderson Gallery, Berkeley, CA
2004 Open Studios, ArtSpan San Francisco, CA
2003 Bucci's, Emeryville, CA
2002 East Bay Open Studios, Berkeley, CA
2001 Addison Street Windows, Berkeley, CA
2000 Albatross, Berkeley, CA
1998 Harbor Square Gallery, Rockland, ME
1997 Russian Embassy, Washington D.C., curated by Diane Beal
Selected Group Exhibitions
2012 Berkeley Civic Center, Berkeley, CA
2010 Nieto Fine Art, San Francisco, CA
2010 Fontbonne University Fine Arts Gallery, St.Lois, MO.
2008 Two Artists Show, Paule Anglim Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2007 Loyola National Works on Paper, Crown Center Gallery Loyola University of Chicago,
2007 Addington Gallery, Chicago IL
2007 Nicolett College, WI
2007 Micaela Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2007 Rotunda Gallery,San Francisco, CA
2007 Paul Mahder Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2006 SFMOMA Artists Gallery: "Finding the Figure", San Francisco, CA
2005 20th Annual Conservatory Art Classic, Clifton, TX
2005 Micaela Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2005 Dimensions 2005, Winston Salem,NC
2005 Yerba Buena Center for the Arts: Visual Aid at 16, San Francisco, CA
2005 San Diego Art InstituteMuseum, San Francisco, CA
2004 Blue Room Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2004 Barbara Anderson Gallery:, Berkeley, CA
2004 ARTWALK at the Embarcadero Center, curated by ArtSpan, San Francisco, CA
2003 Catharine Clark Gallery: SPICE Visual Aid Artists, San Francisco, CA
2003 San Diego Art Institute, San Diego, CA
2002 Vorpal Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2001 SFMOMA Artists Gallery 4 Artist Show, San Francisco, CA
2001 Vorpal Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1999 Museum of American Illustration, New York, NY
1999 Art Expo: Finalists of the Art Calendar Magazine's Competition, New York, NY
1999 James E. Lewis Museum of Art, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD
1999 Sloane Gallery, Denver, CO
1997 Springfield Art Museum, Annapolis, MD
1997 Lancaster Museum of Art, Lancaster, PA
1996 Hood College, Frederick, MD
1995 Regional Mid-Atlantic Watercolor Exhibition, Baltimore, MD
1994 Zenith Gallery, Washington D.C.
1993 New York City Public Library, New York, NY
1993 Galerie Francoise, Green Spring, MD
1992 Zimmerly Art Museum, Rutgers University, NJ