Searching For Truth In The Imagery That Surrounds Us

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Newcomer Artist Claire Farrugia’s “Polymorphs”

Newcomer artist Claire Farrugia is presenting her first solo exhibition, ‘Polymorphs’ throughout the month of August at The Palm Court Lounge at The Phoenicia Malta.

The concept behind this exhibition lies in how online portrayal of imagery that the general public consumes is often far from the truth; it is, in fact, most of the time a made-up form of reality. This was the starting point of Claire Farrugia’s work for this exhibition.

Claire Farrugia (b.1992) holds a master’s degree in Pharmacy and is an MA graduate in Fine Arts from the University of Malta’s Department of Art and Art History.

Dividing her time between her art and her pharmacy profession, her artistic work focuses mostly on the figurative, in her quest to understand truth and reality in relation to images, particularly images that are available online and on social media. Her work seeks to manifest how social media images may be a form of post-truth in their complete disregard towards truth and reality.

Polymorphs are crystalline materials that consist of the same chemical composition but have different internal structures. These structures can reversibly change from one form to another depending on temperature and pressure.

Therefore, the paintings being exhibited deal with this ‘human polymorphism’, particularly with regards to appearances. The same subjects are being presented differently, one in a natural stance and one with a filter using a mobile app. In many of these works, there is an intentional economy in the portrayal of the portrait and expression.

This theme is being adapted to the self, to the behaviour that is exhibited online, where online users change their appearance and behaviour depending on the environment they are in, and this to garner more attention, popularity, and “likes”.

Another section of the exhibition is reserved for Farrugia’s own self-portraits. Several male and female artists have in the history of art explored their own image for a variety of reasons, which, before the advent of photography, was the only way to record your likeness for posterity and to show another side of yourself, in women’s case, often for reasons of self-promotion. Claire Farrugia is observing herself by studying and painting her own image while at times using such mobile filters.

This process was a journey of self-appreciation and acceptance, and not an exercise for vanity. Rather, Farrugia is trying to search for some form of truth in the imagery that surrounds us and understand what others wish to convey when portraying themselves as something that they are not, particularly to those who only know them on a virtual level.

This leads one to question: which version of what we see is real? Can there be different versions of reality?

Polymorphs is an exhibition consisting of works on paper, panel and canvas in which the audience is invited to partake in this discussion: #polymorphsexhibition

‘Polymorphs’ is being curated by Dr Charlene Vella and the exhibition will remain open throughout the month of August.

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