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New Work by Jennie Ottinger

November 15th, 2010 · 2 Comments

Jennie Ottinger has a solo show, Due By, at Johansson Projects in Oakland in which she crafts a new visual experience of the Classics. Even without the full context of the show (which the quote below provides), Jennie’s paintings grab you and don’t let go. There is something so honest and human about her work – the crude and sometimes uglier side of people, peppered with a heavy dose of wit. She is one of my favorite contemporary artists.



In Due By, Jennie Ottinger crafts a canonical library stripped down to the barely-there essentials. There is a haunting affect to Ottinger’s collection of newfangled classics; perhaps it is the quiet tick tock of our own mortality, urging us to read the greats before it is too late. To help us with our timely mission, the books’ insides are cut out and replaced with far more entertaining summaries. Her humorous and brusque adaptations of the stories themselves let readers accomplish the once impossible mission of ‘getting’ War and Peace in a whopping five minutes flat… – Johansson Projects

Scene from To Kill A Mockingbird


Scene from Death of a Salesman


Scene from Farewell to Arms

Artist of the day: Jennie Ottinger @ Johansson Projects

September 11th, 2009 · 6 Comments

Today I’m profiling Jennie Ottinger whose work is on display at Johansson Projects in Oakland, CA until Sept. 18th.

Ottinger’s technique reminds me of the Impressionists, most notably Sargent, for the way her brushstrokes, especially in her figurative pieces, appear messy and chaotic but at closer glance are actually quite deliberate. My favorites in this series are the houses and streetscapes where she really captures the beauty of the mundane in an honest and unexpected way.

Many of her pieces have a degree of ugliness in them such as Royal Family, Men in Suits, Man Chat (below-left) and Man with Cane (below-middle). And I can’t help but compare the two paintings below to the German Expressionist, Max Bechmann’s, Self-Portrait (below-right).  Suffice it to say that sometimes the truth, or our perception of the truth, is ugly.

Jennie Ottinger: Man Chat Jennie Ottinger: Man with Cane Max Beckmann: Self-portrait

For more on the artist, check out her interview on Spraygraphic.