Lou Baker’s life-size sculptures are often hard to look at. Focused on the kind of abjection that many of us are inclined to turn our heads away from, her work is a resounding element of the current exhibition We Need To Talk About Clothes at the Hardwick Gallery in Cheltenham. Invited to take part in the exhibition along with other students, artists and designers, Lou has made work in response to the show’s presiding question: What are we to do about the 35,000 tonnes of textile waste dumped in landfill in the UK each year?
With environmental threat rising all the time, this exhibition aims to bring some of its reality to the surface where many people may be turning a blind eye, or perhaps are even oblivious. As Lou strives to readjust our focus on this topic, she uses her signature-style approach to materials by combining an array of fabrics and techniques in a way that can evoke feelings of confrontation and loss through textiles.
In the past, Lou has used her own life as a starting point for her installations, citing the intricacies of motherhood as one of her key inspirations. Her work made specifically for We Need To Talk About Clothes is titled Don’t wash your dirty laundry in public, and is a rare moment in her artistic practice where a personal concept has, in effect, turned into something entirely public and political.
To coincide with the exhibition, Thread Counts (a collaboration for sustainable futures consisting of the Hardwick Gallery, Atelier and Fashion Design at the University of Gloucestershire for sustainable textile futures) are holding a Maker’s Day event on 22 April from 10.30am – 4.30pm. This includes a gallery tour, a panel discussion, up-cycling demonstrations and workshops.
Exhibition 18 – 26 April 2017