Just like the mass panic that's sure to ensue when the end of the world comes this December, Plus Gallery's new show "Apocalypse? How!" has a lot going on. To start, the show features four different artists, symbolic of the four horsemen of the apocalypse: Donald Fodness, Larry Bob Phillips, Drew Englander, and Paul Nudd. The show also features the written work of writer Nancy Hightower, who's provided a narrative to accompany the art. Most interestingly, though, is the grotesque theme that ties all the work together.
Donald Fodness, one of the "four horsemen" says he played a major part in directing the concept of the show. "This was going to be the first show of the year for Plus Gallery, and I thought it would be fitting just to have fun with the fact that 2012 was going to be the end of the world in a pop culture sense," he says. "I know it has roots n the Mayan calendar, as well as other sources, but I started playing off pop culture references with the end of the world and zombies."
Some of the art is up on Plus' website, in advance of the show, and there seems to be a tie between all of the pieces. Aside from featuring a predominantly black-and-white theme, the pieces are alarmingly disorienting. Fodness says the parallels were not preconceived through plan, but all artists were chosen because their work seems to sync-up.
"I think that there was an aesthetic mutation to pairing these artists together and their interest in the grotesque," he explains. "And, I think a very specific way of referencing the grotesque that has its roots in pop culture things, like old comics. But, it was more independent than meeting and talking about it first. We trusted that the artists would choose or make works that fit into the theme."
Nancy Hightower, the writer involved with the show, has already been posting some of her material on Plus' Facebook page, in conjunction with preview pieces from the four artists. Her narrative lends itself to the eerie, dark, and yet playful aspects of the visual narrative, and provides a secondary component to the show.
"I thought Nancy would be a perfect person to have write on the show," says Fodness. "Because in addition to the humor element on these apocalyptic pieces, I thought her work was fitting with where our work's going. There are a lot of unpredictable things happening and what I know about Nancy s work and how she's into the grotesque and the conundrum of things that are horrifying and yet also humorous."
The show opens tomorrow night, at 6 p.m. at 2501 Larimer Street. Fodness says he's looking forward to the exhibition, which runs through March 13.
"In the end it's more fun to have those more collaborative ventures because there is an element of the unknown; there are variables. If you know what's going to be in the show since the beginning than you get bored. But with this, I get to be surprised."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.