FIRESTARTER AT BEN OAKLEY GALLERY
Rooms Magazine, Linh Nguyen
London born printmaker DRB presents his solo show at Ben Oakley Gallery on the 2nd of May 2014.
DRB (Dirty Rotten Bleeder) specialises in printmaking and has a deviant attitude towards the world. He is an offender but for all the right reasons. FIRESTARTER is more than just an exhibition about committing crimes of arson; it opens up a discourse about what determines our actions. A lot of his prints are done on matchboxes, each containing a slogan that ranges from political to humourous.
We can look at a matchbox from multiple stances. First, how it confronts us as a physical object. Without knowing it’s called a matchbox, the object is a small, flimsy cardboard box, completely harmless and trivial. Secondly, when we know it’s a matchbox, we are more informed as to what that entails; it tells us that it inhabits tools to create a fire. The object is no longer trivial but functional; it has a purpose because it can be used. Yet the third and most interesting aspect is how DRB transforms it. Not only is it functional, but it becomes a canvas that speaks. For example, one matchbox has a police car on fire but what makes it interesting is that it’s not too extreme for us to condemn it. The balance is just right. And given the size of each box, printmaking becomes an even more detailed form of art making. The matchbox is no longer just a firestarter, because within the artistic space, we are forced to interpret it differently.
The strength of DRB’s works is reminding us to never underestimate the power of the seemingly small. It is not about form or size, but the result it produces. All we need is one match to end everything.