Show Runs July 25 - September 19
Reception: Friday, August 2, 5-8pm
Jennie Ottinger grew up in a small town in Massachusetts, where Catholic rules and rituals designated the course of her daily activities. After high school Ottinger, desperate to taste that legendary California freedom, fled to the Bay Area where she immediately joined a sorority. In her new exhibition Members Only, Ottinger explores the little laws that separate the chosen ones from the masses, whether they be members of a congregation, Boy Scouts or sorority sisters. Ottinger navigates the aesthetics of these exclusive societies, depicting the precarious moment when a child's adorable uniform, from the right angle, looks almost like a cult member's regalia. Ottinger revisits childhood's most exclusive clubs with her signature combination of nostalgia and horror. Her grotesque depictions of playground scenarios captures the endless space between a traumatic childhood experience and an adult's dismissive "awwwww." Uniformed kids turn into flesh-colored clowns, their exaggerated expressions communicating acceptance or rejection in a flash. Textured blots of paint sharply translate into cockeyed looks, both the haunting gaze that begs you to join and the icy glare that assures you are not welcome.
Press for Members Only:
SF Chronicle, "Memory, Color, Scorching from a Framework" by Kenneth Baker: "...If Ottinger's own childhood experiences do not lie behind these quietly creepy images, then a juvenile insecurity that burdens most of us and evidently her into adulthood does. The low definition of Ottinger's images, juiced with color but vague as to details, may be truer to the nature of our visual memories than anything that passes for realism..." LINK
It's Nice That, "Art: Jennie Ottinger will make you nostalgic and grateful to have survived camp" by Maisie Skidmore: "...fascinating in its critique of suburban society...Jennie extracts the naïve playfulness of young and old alike to expose the faintly sinister undertone lurking beneath...Lovely and terrifying in almost equal measure." LINK
East Bay Express, "Jennie Ottinger's Schoolyard Creeps" by Alex Bigman: "...these subjects don't look at you-only in your general direction. This is what renders the paintings so ghostly not a characteristic of the subjects, but of the displaced viewer. The vagueness of the subjects' faces severs the possibility of a connective gaze, leaving the viewer with the spooky sensation of sharing perhaps a space but not a reality." LINK