Donald Fodness might be the last great original: His whole seemingly chaotic shtick as an artist is really quite ordered — in some secret schematic laid out in his own head — and every line of every drawing and each element of every sculpture or installation is part of the mental map he works out for the piece as he goes. So the fun of viewing his work is in figuring out how it all fits together, and that endeavor often ends in a bit of amiable head-scratching and an unrequited bafflement that’s rather energizing. Which is why The Void Is Too Large — If You Can Read This, Fodness’s first solo exhibition at Plus Gallery, is a highly anticipated debut, not to mention one unlike any other.
To begin with, the show’s title is borrowed from something he saw printed on an industrial cargo bag. “It sounded poetic and mystical, but it’s basically a super-practical, appropriated thing,” Fodness says. And there is a connection to the work in the show, which includes a drawing of the same name and an interrelatedness carried on through “weird linkages from piece to piece in the show.” The sum of those links — found in various guises, from a weight bench Fodness found and modified so it “looks like a torture device to highlight the absurdity of that kind of equipment” to a portrait bust that’s “loosely a self-portrait or a shadow self of me as a father, or, rather, the kind of father I don’t want to be” — is a loose statement about the modern obsession with self-image in a society where everyone’s checking each other out. For instance, his melted, sloppy bust bears a twisted resemblance to Homer Simpson, denoting a type of patriarch who is abusive, lazy and obsessed with sports — exactly what a parent doesn’t want to appear to be.
The Void Is Too Large opens tonight with a reception from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Plus, 2501 Larimer Street, and continues through August 17; for more information, go to plusgallery.com or call 303-296-0927.
Thu., July 11, 6:30-9 p.m.; Wednesdays-Saturdays, 12-5 p.m. Starts: July 11. Continues through Sept. 17, 2013