Thursday, October 01, 2009

Art List

I really liked the paintings by San Francisco artist Jennie Ottinger in the show that opened at UT Dallas last week. She was unable to attend in person, but she was nice enough to answer some hard-hitting art questions via email for this week's Art List.


Richardson Heights: How did you get involved with this show in Dallas? I see a few other exhibitions here on your CV. What is your relation to North Texas?

Jennie Ottinger: Conduit Gallery saw my work online at and invited me to show in their project room. I had never been to Texas so I was excited for the opportunity. I like to install myself because I group the pieces in specific ways so it has some of the issues of an installation piece. So I went out there for about a week and it was so much fun and Conduit was awesome. John Pomara (curator for the UTD show) saw my work there and contacted me.

RH: You're in San Francisco -- can you describe the logistics of getting your paintings here?

JO: At Conduit Gallery all the work was unframed and taped to the wall with white artist tape on a dark green wall. Hanging that way poses its own obstacles but transporting was easy- I just brought them on the plane with me.

Originally, John wanted to show them that way for the show at UTD. I had a show last month at Johansson Projects in Oakland, CA where they were all in white frames on a white wall. I framed about 110 of them and only used 50 so I asked John if he wanted them in frames or taped still. Because I used mostly ready made frames it would have been easy to take them out. John and I are both Libras which was evident in the decision making process. Libra is the scales so we tend to be indecisive and go back and forth between options. So finally we decided to keep them framed and they almost didn't make it because either I or UPS is stupid. I choose to blame UPS.

RH: What is your studio work environment like? Can you describe some of your process in creating a painting?

JO: Space in San Francisco is a little bit expensive so my studio is really small. It is the former storage closet in a group studio. It is as far away from the windows as possible but since I have only a doorway with no door I do get a bit of natural light. And it is a mess. I can't really walk around which cuts down on procrastinating since it is hard to get free once I have climbed over to my drafting table.

I collect images that interest me all the time from a variety of sources. Then I select the ones that are potential reference for paintings. I choose for subject matter and also for a certain tone. That tone is often present in photos used for documentation. The subjects are there to demonstrate something or record something so they are stone faced and awkward. Everything is very straightforward. I make several versions often and put them with other pieces to suggest a narrative. I'm most interested in how they work with other pieces. How a pistol or a kitten or a plane means different things depending upon the other pieces surrounding it.

RH: I really like the matte white & flat framing job you did. I guess I don't really have an intelligent question to ask about that, but maybe say something fascinating in response?

JO: I have shown them a couple of times taped to the wall. I liked that because it felt really spontaneous and casual. They were dense and a little messy which worked really well in a small room.

I framed them for the Johansson Projects show which is a larger airy space and they were much sparser. I really liked the clean, more formal presentation. Then in the center of the room there was a large pile of the pieces we didn't use. I wanted it to feel like they were interchangeable, as if you could pick one from the pile and fit it into one of the groups on the wall and change the story.



The Laws of Chance
Robert D. Cocke [link #1 | link #2]
Valley House Gallery
6616 Spring Valley Road, Dallas, TX 75254
October 2 : 6:00 - 8:30 PM

"magical atmospheres and tantalizing deep space [...] The sense of building energy or impending cataclysmic event is portentous. And Cocke does it all in little panels that run from five inches to no more than about two feet. Wow." (Tasende Gallery, West Hollywood)


Cottonwood Art Festival
Dogwood Drive/West Beltline, Richardson, TX 75080
October 3,4 : 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM

This is always kind of cute. I really hate to dis one of the nicest things going on semi-yearly in the real Richardson Heights... but if you're looking for great Native American theme-oriented airbrushed canvases, bluebonnet paintings, and New Age art, this may be your dream event. It's definitely something fun to attend every couple of years (seriously).

Tyson Summers
Misha Flores
Larry Carey
Kettle Art Gallery
2714 Elm Street, Dallas, Tx 75226
October 3 : 7:00 PM - 11:00 PM


Kettle Art (due October 30)
500X Fall Show (due October 6)

Images courtesy of Jennie Ottinger (again)


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