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Ace new Laura Callaghan work calls BS on the idea that we can be “whatever we want to be”

Back in January, Laura Callaghan told us she resolved to “embrace the trashy, weird and ugly aspects” of her work. In an exhibition of new work opening at KK Outlet in June, she’s proving that she’s a woman of her word, albeit doing so in a way that’s as compelling and culturally relevant as ever.

The title of the show is Aspirational, and it calls bullshit on mindless social media “motivational” quotes, showing in scenes of boredom, cattiness and debt that life’s realities are a far cry from the pretty pictures painted by peppy faux-philosophical memes.

Her imagery of women cautiously sizing one another up, being stuck in admin drudgery or cutting up their credit cards perfectly captures the modern day issues of being a girl in a difficult world.

“Girls today are told they can be whatever they want but they’re still held to impossible beauty standards,” says KK Outlet. “They’re told they can be the entrepreneurs of their own lives but they can hardly afford a Pret a Manger for lunch. They’re fed these aspirational dreams but their lives resemble something altogether less sorted. A feed full of inspiration quotes from various sources soon starts to feel like a piss-take.”

The new works comprise watercolours, printed textiles and screen prints, and and Laura’s attention to detail and bright yet sensitive colour palette is put to glorious effect. They’re at once hilarious and bleak.

“‘Happiness will never come to those who don’t appreciate what they already have.’” – What if all you have is an internship and crippling debts? ‘If you haven’t got it, you can’t show it. If you have got it, you can’t hide it.’ – WHAT?!”

The show runs from 2 June to 2 July at KK Outlet in Hoxton, east London.

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