Josée Bienvenu gallery is pleased to present Ocean’s Between Us, Adam Ogilvie’s first one-person exhibition. The work is about one consciousness confronting its own. It deals with fear and survival. Disaster looms over innocent sensuality. “I can’t go on. I must go on”. The MOLEBEARBIRD – burrower, fighter, flyer, and hibernator – is a soldier of life, facing threats and confronting survival (Adam Ogilvie). The show consists of recent paintings and sculptures, as well as a film and a photograph.
Adam Ogilvie’s creatures are analog monuments made of cardboard and screws. They are distant relatives of the Rolodex family; their perforated aspect recalls old library index cards, storage vessels or armors of another era. They elicit the same smile caused by any obsolete tool: a mix of nostalgia and a desire to protect and cherish. The analog world, less accurate but friendlier than its binary cousin, is becoming outdated although like Adam Ogilvie’s cardboard bears, it is closer to human scale. When Wall Street is thriving it is a bull market, when it starts slowing down, it becomes a bear market. Adam Ogilvie’s bears precede the digital deluge and appear to be extinct species that have never existed.
Reminiscent of early video games and children cartoons, Adam Ogilvie’s universe is populated by strange hybrid creatures set against brightly colored backgrounds. The dreamlike imagery, the unnatural light and colors with figures and objects seemingly frozen in time also bring to mind the world of Metaphysical painting and its deceptive simplicity. Caught in unlikely situations, the characters and their environments are stripped of specific narrative contexts, thus offering many possible interpretations. Characters often reappear, though in each scenario their roles become more complex and defined. Poisoned, Beautiful, Almost Gone, is a large hybrid sculpture engaged in an impossible mission: a bear is pulling the strings of a parachute bigger and obviously much heavier than he is, as he is made of cardboard and the parachute fiberglass. Similar figures leap through the paintings, looking possibly distressed, sometimes wearing a red cape; elsewhere they are shown hooking up a string to objects that look like bombs, or balloons; or they are perched on a branch sticking off the wall.
Two works in a separate room function as a counterpoint adding a disquieting layer of complexity to this non-threatening universe. Oceans Between Us, a 2-minute film loop transferred to video, is an emotionally stirring abstraction of war, love, and redemption. It includes images of birds, parachutes and oceans. It is funereal and lyrical; it is silent, black and white and far away. Like a relic from another time, it applies to the things we repeat over and over again. Between, a glowing 50×60 inch photograph of an old footbridge crossing a small river is simultaneously an invitation to life and a pathway to death. The innocent bear creature has taken on a more specific role as soldier, facing threats and confronting survival. The film and photograph become a commentary on his struggle; they facilitate the transfer for the viewer to become the bear.
Born in 1971, Adam Ogilvie lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He has a B.A. in fine arts from Yale University and a M.F.A from the School of Visual Arts, New York.