“What to Do with Your Orphan: A Manual” by Jennie Ottinger is currently showing at the Johansson Projects in Oakland, CA. If the evocative title doesn’t give you pause, the images the artist paints will jar your sensibilities. In an unsparing style, the San Francisco based artist presents ghostly children going through the motions of childhood – swimming at the community pool, playing dodge ball, and eating breakfast. Painted with unfinished detail and blotches of muted color, the orphans appear disturbingly devoid of child-like qualities. They are depicted as plastic dolls, set up to be played with, and then abandoned in a forgotten place and time.
The artist masterfully depicts the oppressed using mere traces of suggestion, living in a muted ominous world. This is painting with no frills: unnerving, because there is nowhere to hide the disturbing reality of neglect.
“What to Do with Your Orphan: A Manual” will be showing at the Johansson Projects through June 16, 2012.
*Photos from the Johansson Projects.