‘All the single ladies’ – Baldock artist Callum Abbott joins gender debate with debut exhibition in Letchworth

Baldock's Callum Abbott with his works at the gallery. Picture: Bradley Martin

Baldock's Callum Abbott with his works at the gallery. Picture: Bradley Martin - Credit: Archant

An artist from Baldock is aiming to make a point about the objectification of women with his debut exhibition at a Letchworth gallery.

Callum's collage works at the gallery. Picture: Bradley Martin

Callum's collage works at the gallery. Picture: Bradley Martin - Credit: Archant

Callum Abbott’s show at the Broadway Gallery and Studio in The Arcade, features half a dozen striking collages under the title Single Ladies.

He told the Comet: “The six collages are quite colourful. Each one features a lady’s head and they’re distorted in some way – so it’s not such a real representation of that person.

“Part of what I wanted to do here was to juxtapose them with food, as a comment about the objectification of women – how it’s almost like food consumption.”

Former Knights Templar School head boy Callum, 27, is hoping to follow in the footsteps of fellow Camberwell College of Arts graduates such as Quentin Blake and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.

The gallery describes his work as simultaneously “appealing, unsettling and subversive”, and based on a direct lineage to the Pop Art movement of the 1950s and ’60s.

Callum’s journey into the art world began when he was still a boy.

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He said: “I used to make birthday cards for friends and things like that when I was younger, and I used to draw a lot of cartoons.

“Then I got bored of that and started cutting up magazines and making stuff with them. I like the immediacy of collages and the images you get from them.

“I did a BA in drawing, and a lot of performance art – all sorts of things. It’s good that nowadays artists aren’t pigeonholed so much as doing just one thing.”

After going through some retail jobs, Callum began work with the Heritage Foundation at the beginning of this year as a crew member – through which he became aware of the opportunity to have his work on display in the foyer at the Foundation’s Broadway Gallery.

He said: “I applied just like anyone else would, and the curator Laura Dennis was very up for it, so here we are.

“I did feel for a while afterwards that there wasn’t anything going on artistically after being in the bubble of London, but now I’ve become a bit more acquainted with the artistic scene around Letchworth.”

Callum’s exhibition is open from Wednesday to Sunday each week until September 10.

The artworks are available for sale from callumabbott.com.

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