Johansson Projects is please to present Members Only, a solo exhibition featuring new paintings by Jennie Ottinger.
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.