Letters to the Predator
Featuring: Jennie Ottinger
Show Runs January 10 – February 28, 2015
Reception: Saturday, January 10, 2-5pm
Bay Area Reporter
“Talent to watch: San Francisco genie-in-a-bottle Jennie Ottinger…Best gallery shows: Letters to the Predator at Johansson Projects, where Ottinger, who’s justly lauded above, devised an amoral animal kingdom a long way from Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too, as well as a series of disconcertingly unwholesome, slyly humorous oil paintings…” Link
Huffington Post: Artist Rips Apart Teddy Bears — And Childhood Memories — And Sews Them Back Together
“…a visual world where the high stakes of youth are not minimized by adults but dramatized and fleshed out. Her anxiety-drenched canvases visualize the ever twitching power dynamics that are never quite what they seem…” Link
Bay Area Reporter:
“Sly humor coupled with incongruous, discomfiting subject matter…” Link
“Take the Train to Oakland’s Art Boom” Link
Chew with your mouth closed. Don’t talk back. We’re taught to be polite, sometimes, at all costs. In her newest exhibition, Letters to the Predator, Jennie Ottinger takes a tip from the animal kingdom (and “The Real World”) and throws propriety out the window in favor of carnal instinct and survival. Ottinger asks: “what happens when people stop being polite… and start getting real?”
Ottinger paints human scenarios where manners and refinement break down – from a gruesome football tackle to a questionable circus extravaganza. Ottinger’s painted creatures live on the brink between human and not, their peachy facial features dripping and shifting before your eyes. A mouth, shifted just so, looks more like a maw, and eyes lack any semblance of consciousness – or conscience.
The show also features a series of soft-sculptures, thrift store teddy bears that have undergone botched surgeries and barely lived to tell the tale. The formerly adorable creatures, mutated and deformed, have no interest in being polite, their chopped and screwed features are visual manifestations of innocence left out to rot.
In Ottinger’s a-moral kingdom, being polite is a privilege that too many can’t afford. Her power plays, verging between mischievous and savage appear altogether alien, yet still a bit too close too home.