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What To Do With Your Orphan: A Manual 

When: May 10-June 16 2012

Although the subject matter might be strangely straightforward, Jennie Ottinger's new paintings at Johansson Projects (2300 Telegraph Ave., Oakland) are anything but. Her work depicts children, who we are told are orphans, engaged in normal, childlike activity. Upon closer inspection, however, these paintings reveal a world that keenly balances horror and humor, ugliness and beauty: People become dolls, nuns become monsters, and everyone is utterly alone. Not only is everyone alone, but everything is alone as well: The brown bed, the plainly-lit living room, and the waiting-room door are all characters in this existential universe. In the same way Edward Hopper did it, Ottinger renders the space between her subjects as irreconcilable. The effect is surprisingly refreshing. What to Do With Your Orphan: A Manual runs through June 16. or 510-444-9140

— Obi Kaufmann


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