Galerie Fons Welters - Amsterdam

Rainbow Woman

In her work, the Dutch artist Femmy Otten (b. 1981, Amsterdam) explores a very hybrid world of inspiration, ranging from sculptures from Greek antiquity and Italian painters of the quattrocento to outsider art from America and extremely contemporary art. She brings all these influences together in a precise yet unfathomable iconography that radiates timelessness. The use of different media is dictated by necessity and because the development of the work demands it. 

Otten’s works of art bear witness to the desire to transcend transience. She is fully aware that this is a losing battle, but nevertheless strives for it again and again. Through the work of art, the maker communicates directly with the viewer. An image made thousands of years ago also speaks directly to a viewer today.

The artist wants to hold on to happiness – when it presents itself to her. After all, when we look at and listen to works of art, from whatever period, it is possible to relive a moment of perfect happiness through the work of art. On the rare occasions when this happens, we are deeply moved by the connection we feel with a greater whole at that moment. Otten’s works subtly expose and confront this fragility of existence.

In her solo exhibition ‘Rainbow Woman’, Otten combines her early works with recent ones. Striking are several large wall drawings in which she creates a mythical world in pastel with serene lines in tempera. In contrast to the many ambiguous figures in her earlier work, in ‘Rainbow Woman’ the woman now comes to the fore. The woman who ‘just is’ remains an underexposed and precarious theme to this day.

Otten records her identity as a woman and mother in the hope of defusing the vulnerability that motherhood brings. Portraying this soft and magical primal force is not done out of naivety. With her purified images, Otten lays an unctuous and soothing layer on top of today’s fast-paced visual culture.