In Rabble-Rousers, Megan Reed’s marching sculptures, watched by the disconcertingly unwholesome crowds in Jennie Ottinger’s paintings, together activate the gallery space into a kind of parade ground for resistance, rebellion, and/or collective merry-making.
Through loud, chromatic palettes and vivid textures, both Reed and Ottinger create work that is tactile, vocal and slyly humorous. The viewer is invariably drawn into the rabble-rousing, tangled up into its web of discourse; urged to join in or play along. Reed’s anthropomorphic sculptures arouse our emotions and function as figurative firebrands, instigators of trouble and fun. The teetering figures are fragile yet dynamic, provoking or pleading both each other and the viewer. Ottinger’s hoards of eerily smiling faces blend into a painted mass, invoking the passions of the mob. Her fragmentary crowds seem just at the brink of rebellion, elbowing and shoving their faces through to the forefront. The uniformed ensembles and choreographed poses are the last vestiges of visible civilization.