Ogilvie’s ‘Hugs’ at the Artspace

Michael Ogilvie Hugs Exhibit

Michael Ogilvie Hugs Exhibit

By Paul Maranan

With smooth pencil strokes and the help of a cuddly bear, a local artist is giving us back a little bit of our childhood.

Michael Ogilvie’s latest exhibit “End of the Rainbow” was showcased at the College of Southern Nevada’s Artspace Gallery from July 26 to September 20. The series of drawings featured Hugs, a bear drawn in a style typical to children’s comics. The inspiration for Hugs came from one of Ogilvie’s boyhood memories when he watched a bear eat garbage out of a dumpster.

“When a child puts down a comic and moves on, they have left something behind—something that was part of a largely innocent world for them,” Ogilvie said. “So to return to comics as an adult is in a way to return to that state of mind for a brief moment.”

Ogilvie’s work plays on the poignant dichotomy between the simple youth we have outgrown and the complexities of adulthood we can never fully escape.

“End of the Rainbow” is rife with themes of innocence juxtaposed with mature content. One panel had Hugs entangled in pistol holsters. Another showed him wearing boxing gloves alongside a beautifully scrawled sentence that said, “One of the noblest functions of reason: to know whether it is time to walk out of the world or not.”

Ogilvie attests that his ultimate goal for his works is to examine pleasure.

“Pleasure is the only constant to remain inconsistent all one’s life,” writes Ogilvie, in his artist statement. “Constant in that one yearns for it with every breath, and inconsistent in that not every breath fulfills it.”

Jeff Fulmer, exhibit manager of CSN’s two art galleries, said Ogilvie’s experience with art as well as his success in comics made his work a good candidate for display at the Artspace.

Fulmer said Hugs is connecting with viewers.

“When I look at the ‘End of the Rainbow’ I see myself to some extent as this tragic teddy bear maybe with boxing gloves or a superhero pose, but with a little bit of a gut hanging out,” Fulmer said. “All of us have these feelings and in a surprising way we can relate to this character.”

CSN student Franco Pawlisz was interested in the relationship between each drawing.

“Even though they had the same character and seemed to be trying to convey one singular story, there seemed to be individual stories within each of the pieces that were up on the wall,” Pawlisz said. “There were ones that were slightly off… one simply had his mouth turned upside down with fangs.”
Ogilvie co-published “Drunk: A Comic About Bar Stories” and published “Lust to Dust”, which was about prostitution in Nevada. His next comic “Chum” releases 2014 and will focus on the theme of fishing. Ogilvie said he is drawn to these subjects because few comics cover them and because they are relevant to Nevada.

Ogilvie currently teaches at CSN and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He worked for The City of Las Vegas Office of Cultural Affairs where he helped established public arts downtown.

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