On Thursday 13th November, Imitate Modern hosted the opening reception of ‘Trash ‘n' Cash’, a solo show by The Dotmaster. The little gallery space was packed with people, who not only enjoyed the artworks but also the nice drinks and good music. Well known for his sense of humor and cynicism, the British stencillist The Dotmaster focused on the themes of trash, vulgarity and currency and offers a sharp social commentary. Starting with the location of the gallery, he thought of and created a ‘site specific’ exhibition for the small space of the Marylebone gallery and for this peculiar time. In this way, his sharp critique of luxury brands, of the increasing homogenisation of society and his attention to identity and conscience become more meaningful and strong because of the peculiar setting in a rich area of London, and aquire an ironic and humorous tone. In fact when entering the gallery, the contrast between the artworks displayed and the surrounding environment and people populating it was striking and interesting.
Featuring mixed media artworks, Trash ‘n' Cash presents different series. The works in the ‘Dollar Series’ are characterised by a background made of dollars against which Gucci, Chanel, Vuitton bags are juxtapposed. The latter have been eventually changed into carrier bags for spray cans, brushes and all sort of artistic items, which cause drips of paint staining the luxury bags. The result is striking as it empties of their meaning the precious bags that once carried luxury items and turns them into vulgar and common carrier bags for everyday life.
The same bags feature in the ‘Porn Series’, but this time against a background of nude playing cards from the Seventies. Here, one can easily read a reference to nowadays frequent habit of the ‘selfie’, which instead of being a celebration of the self it has become increasingly an element of conformity.
The ‘Bucks & Dough Series’ are spray painted one dollar notes on canvases, which instead of Washington depict Cara Delavigne, Amy Whinehouse, Miley Cyrus and Lindsay Lohan.
‘The Rude Kids’ series portray naughty kids caught while making obscene gestures, sometimes they are against a background made of dollars, sometimes on a school desk, on leather jackets or directly on the white walls of the gallery.
In the ‘Paper Series’, ‘Holes In My Pocket’ presents a set of different currency notes on which the ususal character depicted have been replaced by the faces of different famous actors. ‘Trash ‘n’ Cash’ that gives the title to the show is a £50 note defaced by the stencil ‘trash’.
Finally, The Dotmaster’s purpose of questioning the state of our society and the concept of value is clearly revealed in the red and black ‘Draped Trash’. Here the background is created by the heavy damask drapes, which the artist associates to Marylebone. The Tiffany, Gucci, Chanel and Nike bags full of painting items and dripping paint are juxtaposed to big black rubbish bags and waste, leaving the viewer to reflect on the big issues presented and criticised throughout the show.
For this show, The Dotmaster also created a couple of prints. ‘Rolled Gold’ features the Tiffany bag with money, spray cans and drips of painting, while ‘Rude Kids’ depicts a boy and a girl making gestures at each other.
Trash ‘n’ Cash exhibition runs till 29th November at the Imitate Modern Gallery in London. Check it out if you have a chance, otherwise stay tuned for an interview with The Dotmaster!
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