Two Painters: Laini Nemett & Walter Hatke

at The Kelly Adirondack Center

April 10- September 30, 2024

Opening April 24, 2024

5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

This event is free and open to the public.

image comprised of left half landscape by Nemett and right half painting of wooden bridge beams

The Kelly Adirondack Center is pleased to present Two Painters: Laini Nemett & Walter Hatke. The paintings featured in this exhibition are interpretations of engineered and natural architecture from upstate New York. They present opportunities to consider our relationships with nature as well as the spaces we create and the legacy we leave. The works express the metamorphoses of their subjects over time as the environmental and human presence leave indelible impressions.

Nemett assumed the role of Professor of Painting and Drawing at Union College in 2015 after Hatke’s 30-year tenure. For the last nine years the two have exchanged images of their recent paintings through a continued email correspondence. It is within this digital dialogue that they noticed their newfound and mutual exploration of natural landscapes arise after an earlier focus on interior geometries.

For Nemett, this was the result of spending more time in her own home during the pandemic and turning her attention to the outdoors. Her neighbors’ houses across the street and the changing light around them became repeated subjects while she sheltered in place. A selection of this series is shown here for the first time. After moving to a house in the woods two years ago, her neighbors became trees in an old growth forest. She has spent the past two years absorbing the changes of hours, seasons, and weather through direct plein-air paintings of these woods.

Hatke’s artistic career began with landscapes, primarily in watercolor. Over time his genre concentrated more on interiors and still lives, with the occasional landscape. Several years ago he started a series of small paintings in oil that featured sites along the Mohawk/Hudson Bikeway which he travels numerous times a year. Four years ago while contributing to a book authored by friend and colleague Peter Tobiessen, “Natural Areas & Other Attractions of Schoharie County, New York,” Hatke was introduced to the famous Blenheim Covered Bridge which inspired a new ongoing series of paintings, publicly shown here for the first time.

Laini Nemett holds a dual BA degree in Visual Arts and History of Art and Architecture from Brown University, and an MFA from the Hoffberger School of Painting, MICA. She has received grants from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Queens Council on the Arts, and Fulbright, and has attended residencies at Yaddo, UCross, Joan Mitchell Center, Hambidge, Jentel, VCCA, Cill Rialaig in Ireland, and the Klots Residency in France. Nemett’s work has been exhibited nationally and abroad, including solo exhibitions at the Paul Mahder Gallery (CA), the Mandeville Gallery (NY), the Guilin Art Museum (China), and the Institute for Contemporary Art at Platform Gallery (MD). Selected group exhibitions include the Albany International Airport Gallery, NY; Kenise Barnes Fine Art, NY; Berkshire Botanical Gardens, MA; Adelphi University, NY; Geoffrey Young Gallery, MA; Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, MO; The Granoff Art Center at Brown University, RI; Ethan Cohen, NY; Rymer Gallery, TN; and Prince Street Gallery, NY. Nemett is Associate Professor of Drawing & Painting at Union College.

Walter Hatke is a painter whose work has seen commercial success since his high school years. Since 1975 he has been represented by art galleries in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Santa Fe, and currently through Gallery Henoch in New York. Hatke’s work is in public, private, and corporate collections throughout the U.S. and abroad, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Academy Museum (NYC), The Art Institute of Chicago, Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, Smith College Museum of Art, Tucson Museum of Art, Sheldon Museum of Art (University of Nebraska), Kansai Gaidai University (Japan), Nanjing University (China), JP Morgan Chase, Hallmark, and The Boston Company. He has received awards and honors from the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Ingram Merrill Foundation, and has participated in the U.S. State Department’s Art in Embassies Program for nine years. For 30 years, he taught painting, drawing and biological illustration at Union College, where he was the Walter C. & May I. Baker Professor of Visual Arts. Over the years he has served as visiting artist, critic, and lecturer at Dartmouth College, the Kansas City Art Institute, and Yale University. He and his wife Ann continue to live in Schenectady, New York. Hatke’s work has been greatly influenced by literature, philosophy, and religion, as well as through collaborations with poet Jordan Smith.

The Kelly Adirondack Center is an interdisciplinary research facility at Union College. The purpose of the Center is to engage the campus community and the wider public in the discussions surrounding the Adirondacks and the complex relationships between nature and society. The Kelly Adirondack Center is open to the public Monday through Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Please check our website,, for excluded dates due to private campus events.