Illiterate Gallery | 82 S. Broadway | Denver, Colorado | 80209 |
11am - 7pm | Tue - Sun | (303) 993-4474 |

Jolly B 13

MAy 6 - May 27, 2011

New Works By

Ryan Bubnis | Bill Dunlap | Mike Egan | John "YOYOGI" Fortes | David "MEGGS" Hooke | Travis Lampe | Jason Limon | Jeremy "THINKMULE" Pruitt | Melanie Pruitt | Brian Raszka | Jesse Reno | Gabriel Shaffer | Betsy Walton


Illiterate presents Jolly B 13, a group exhibition of thirteen well established artists whose works range from contemporary folk and outsider art to highly graphic forms and pop surrealism. Guest curated by artist Jeremy "Thinkmule" Pruitt, this numerically driven assemblage is to him "a celebration of the diversity of art". The numeric title of the show reflects Pruitt's personal affinity for the symbolic value of digits apparent in his own practice. In this case his attention turned towards the number 13 and the contentious associations it contains. As an object of superstition, it has captivated people of many beliefs for millennia and evoked a range of connotations in mythology depending on the cultural reference.

To the ancient Persians, 13 represented chaos, as it was the number following the twelve zodiac signs which controlled the months of the year, with each to reign a millennium, followed by the implosion of earth and sky. The Norse too attributed the number with ominous import, believing that if thirteen people gathered one was certain to perish. In Medieval Catholicism ill omens surrounding 13 arose at the end of the crusades when the execution of the Knights of Templar was ordered with authority from the Pope on Friday the 13th. Numerology purports 13 as an irregular number in contrast to the completeness of its predecessor, the number 12. In modern secular culture this fear of the number thirteen is apparent in places where the luster of a lucky environment is of the utmost importance. At Casino's across the world the number's very existence is to this day omitted from sight.

In other traditions, however, 13 retains positive attributes. To Hindu's a feast is prepared on the 13th day after a death to bring peace to the departed soul. Sikh's actually consider 13 a lucky number as its name "tera" also means "yours", as in "I am yours God" with an associated legend in which a guru working for a merchant counts the day's inventory up to the number 13, and thereafter gives away the rest of the merchandise repeating simply "tera". In Judaism there are 13 principles to the Jewish faith with God containing thirteen attributes of mercy. It is also at the age of 13 that a Jewish boy is thought to become a man. In relatively recent history we can look to the foundation of the United States and it's thirteen colonies as a nod to the number's auspicious effects.

Jolly B 13 is an exhibition of artists who through their varied associations will playfully contribute additional perspectives to this most polarizing prime number. From uninhibited primitive representation and expressively grotesque subject matter to delicately polished and meticulous renderings of strange fantasies, this eclectic collection begs consideration in its juxtaposition of approaches to object making. Whether a skeptic or a believer, the inherent meaning between this body of work, like that of the number 13, will certainly remain in the eye of the beholder.