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Wednesday, October 26

Pride and Prejudice, Art Work by Jennie Ottinger: Chances, Choices, Chases Exhibition at Eleven, London

Eleven is pleased to present Jennie Ottinger’s first UK exhibition in Chances, Choices, Chases starting October 27th. Ottinger uses Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as the basis for a selection of her new work. Her abridged classic novels and accompanying paintings providing a comprehensive snapshot of the famous narratives.
Cover of Pride and Prejudice
Despite the fast pace of life, there remains an impulse to read classic books. With numerous forms of media constantly competing for our attention, it is an overwhelming task to try to keep up with all the books, music, and movies that interest us. We are reminded of our own mortality as there is a finite amount of time in which to engage our desired experiences.

No Thanks, Pride and Prejudice

Ottinger creates a quick solution to digesting well known novels. Using the casual vernacular of our modern time, she summarises synopses of classic tales. Creating an even more succinct summary, the plot and character descriptions are stripped down to their bare essentials. Ottinger glues together the pages of hard cover classic novels, cuts out the centre of the blocks of pages and places her hand written synopses in the empty space.

 Under the Weather, Pride and Prejudice. 
Reinterpreting the book covers but drawn in verisimilitude, the books can be used for fooling those around you into believing you are engrossed by the novel in its entirety. Her adaptations of the stories allow the reader the pleasure of absorbing the main points of the novel in a mere few minutes.

Great Expectations Cover
The title of the exhibition Chances, Choices, Chases serves as categories to further reduce literary masterpieces to single words. Presenting paintings of scenes from the classic tales she gives viewers a snap shot of the book’s contents where a few words and images suggest the infamous story lines. Like Grant Wood, she presents the characters more as archetypes than individuals, relying on costume, prop and setting cues for their identity.
Jane Eyre Cover
Similar to the loose unfinished qualities of Marlene Dumas’s paintings, Ottinger leaves much to the viewer's own ability to fill in the blanks. This newest body of work sees her characters animated and expressive, visually bringing to life stirring plot points from the novels along with the more subtle narrative defining scenarios. We rely on her own dedication to reading the classics as she selects scenes for her paintings which relate to significant moments in each story.

Open Book Image
The tales she depicts are part of a collective cultural consciousness and have been adapted into movies, plays, and other forms of media. The viewer is drawn to the familiarity of characters, identifying with their personas and plight. Exploring the themes of chases, choices, and chances in the characters lives, Ottinger draws parallels to the critical crossroads in our own lives where we are forced to make decisions and thereby live with the outcomes. Internally, her books are stripped down to their bare essential story-line where the content is hollowed out and replaced with page long summaries. Externally, the book jackets are redesigned articulating her gestural style.

Alongside the books she will present paintings of pivotal scenes from the stories allowing the viewer to absorb the crucial plot points where limited words and images encapsulate the infamous story lines. Her work explores our desire to read classic literature especially in a time where there are so many other forms of media competing for our attention.

Eleven Gallery
All art images are courtesy of Eleven – at 11 Eccleston Street, London, SW1W 9LX - +44 (0)20 7823 5540

Chances, Choices, Chases will be on from 28th October to 3rd December. Private view: 27th October, 6-8pm

Jennie Ottinger was born in 1971 and lives and works in San Francisco. Her recent solo exhibitions include(2010), Johansson Projects, Oakland, USA and Due Process(2010), Kantor Gallery, Los Angeles, USA. 2009 image of Jennie Ottinger @Oakland North

Jennie Ottinger
Pride and Prejudice, 2011
Gouache and graphite on paper (cover), summarised and hollowed book
9 x 6 in / 23 x 15 cm

Jennie Ottinger
No, Thanks (Scene from Pride and Prejudice), 2011
Gouache and graphite on paper mounted on panel
11 x 14 in / 28 x 36 cm

Jennie Ottinger
Under the Weather (Scene from Pride and Prejudice), 2011
Gouache and graphite on paper mounted on panel
16 x 20 in / 41 x 51 cm

Jennie Ottinger
Great Expectations, 2011
Gouache and graphite on paper (cover), summarised and hollowed book
9 x 6 in / 23 x 15 cm

Jennie Ottinger
Jane Eyre, 2011
Gouache and graphite on paper (cover), summarised and hollowed book
9 x 6 in / 23 x 15 cm

Open book image


Unknown said...

I love seeing Austenesque artwork. These softer-colored works are great.

Thanks for posting.

Unknown said...

The pictures are fab, but rather sad that the works themselves have to be so truncated.

Anonymous said...

wonderful blog!

AustenVille said...

Not a huge fan of the reworking of the artwork.