Selected Works by Lara Hoke, Ned Axthelm, and Elena Zolotnitsky

July – September 2019
There are moments of recognition — the tilt of a stranger’s head as they laugh with friends, a shared look, a familiar repose — that spark something within us. We see ourselves in others as we glimpse these fleeting moments. The paintings of Lara Hoke, Ned Axthelm, and Elena Zolotnitsky allow us to explore human connection through shared encounter and observation. It is work that is both intimate and informative, a glimpse into the spaces where we seek ourselves in others.

We look forward to you joining us as we welcome these three talented artists to our office gallery.

About the Artists

Lara Hoke

Lara Hoke’s passion for art blossomed early. She began formally studying the figure when she was in elementary school and started painting in oil a few years later. For many years her work explored relationships between people, the presence of technology, and the interplay of the two. Now in her late thirties and a new mother, Lara’s artwork has turned to exploring the objects, people, and places that define her everyday life and this exciting, albeit challenging, new role.

In her paintings, Lara explores the overlap of drawing and painting, using the two to build form and space. She uses direct painting methods and often incorporates layers of transparent color to add depth and color complexity. Lara lives and works in Oakland, California.

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Ned Axthelm

Empathy dominates Ned Axthelm’s work. Relationships between figures within a painting draw the viewer’s attention to the connections between strangers. In exploring his own empathetic responses to people, Ned seeks to create an immersive experience in which our similarities bond us to the strangers around us.

Ned Axthelm’s current paintings explore the private self that is brought into public and expose the unacknowledged power dynamics that exist between strangers. He chooses his subjects from strangers he encounters randomly and situations common to everyday urban living. His paintings are devoted to the relationship between viewing and being viewed. He earned his MFA at the Academy of Art University and paints the people of the San Francisco Bay area without their knowledge.

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About Elena Zolotnitsky

When viewing Elena Zolotnitsky’s work, it feels like you’re exploring the mysteries of life. She describes a lingering memory from her childhood in Moscow: chocolates. Chocolates intricately wrapped in silver-lined papers embossed with images from the Tretyakov Gallery. She would gently unwrap the chocolates to discover small reproductions of masterpieces. This opened the door to the magic of familiar and everyday images.

Elena Zolotnitsky was born in Moscow and graduated from the State University of Cinematography. In her early career, she worked as a creative director in animation production, a freelance illustrator, and a poster designer. For the last 25 years, Elena has been a professional artist, recognized by major art organizations, and featured in several publications. She lives and works in the Bay Area.

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Exhibit Highlights