Art: Jennie Ottinger will make you nostalgic and grateful to have survived camp

5 August 2013

Brownie Guides was a serious learning curve for me. I was fresh out of the land of finger painting and percussion lessons (infant school) when I was thrust into the town hall and found, not a finishing school for eight-to-ten-year-olds, but a pit of pre-pubescent experimentation. When I was supposed to be learning how to build campfires and make dream catchers, what I was actually doing was learning to go for wees in the woods and how mean girls can be when they’re practising being grown-ups.

Jennie Ottinger knows. We first came across the California-based artist’s paintings of tennis matches last year, and this series of images of camps, parades and playgrounds is similarly fascinating in its critique of suburban society. Jennie extracts the naïve playfulness of young and old alike to expose the faintly sinister undertone lurking beneath. She often plays upon tragically comic scenes that others tend to skirt around, creating humorous and sometimes scathing images about various nostalgic elements of our culture. Lovely and terrifying in almost equal measure.


Jennie Ottinger: Fire Side


Jennie Ottinger: Important Meeting


Jennie Ottinger: Pair Up


Jennie Ottinger: Parade


Jennie Ottinger: Meeting in the Woods

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About the Author

Maisie Skidmore

Maisie joined It’s Nice That fresh out of university in the summer of 2013 as an intern before joining full time as an Assistant Editor. Maisie left It’s Nice That in July 2015.

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