- Selfies are most popular in AUSTRALIA.
- There are over 1 million selfies taken per day.
- 36% of people admitted to altering their selfies
- Selfies makeup 30% of the photos being taken by 18 – 24 yr olds
- 50% of men and 52% of women have taken a selfie
– (Mini) Monuments to now –
Mirrors reverse realities, depending on the size of the frame through which you view an image of the mirror – it can seem real, or it can seem like a reflection. As the reflection is itself not a place we can enter. As such it is a good paradox that is reflective of how we use, view and sometimes compare our lives through social media.
““Me Me Me Generation, here are a few basic facts: the National Institutes of Health reports that the incidence of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is three times as high for people in their 20s as for folks 65 or older; 58 percent more college students scored higher on a narcissism scale in 2009 than in 1982; 40 percent of millennials believe they should be promoted every two years, regardless of performance; and the obsession with fame among the young is apparently so superheated that three times as many girls 11 to 13 want to grow up to be a celebrity’s personal assistant instead of a US senator.”
In this series, I am not so much interested in my identity, but more the notion we have chosen to use bathrooms – private – to project a vastly public image into the world through social media. The way we construct ourselves in these selfies that we push out into the world is fascinating! The self-consumed nature of it is referenced by the titles which highlights the world news – and arguably much more important – events that are happening while we focus inwards.
As my new series of paintings explore, sometimes it is hard to tell are we looking at a real space, or a space in a mirror – reality / reflection.
In the above image, the viewer is uncertain as to whether they are looking into a room with someone photographing them – or are we looking at someone’s self portrait taken in a mirror within the room behind the subject? This question becomes even more confusing when standing in-front of the painting and taking a photo of it through a tablet, or smart phone similar to the one in the photo. The experience is unusual and reality bending.
The works tackle identity, communication and alienation in a self-promotional era. The majority of the paintings being painted in Public bathrooms in front of the mirrors with the urinals, or as the laconic title “Pissers” is a tip of the hat to my tendency to take the piss – both out of others yet mainly myself – something which identifies distinctly as Australian and nods to my upbringing on a rural farm in Victoria. These works are serious, and seriously taking the piss. Again there is a duality.
This series all started on returning from Africa, I broke my ankle and when I returned I aimed to start plein air painting the urban-scape of Melbourne, however I found after the injury heading out around Melbourne with crutches and a car that had been written off was impossible.
So it began – For me, the bathroom is a private and cocoon like place. In fact, when I was young it was the only room in the house that had a lock, creating a quiet sanctuary for me to be without question or interruption. In this series, I am not so much interested in my identity, but more the notion we have chosen to use bathrooms – private – to project a vastly public image into the world through social media.
Like #mrboxie, we are connected yet disconnected. My face is deliberately not defined in the paintings. Yet as paintings, which are archivable, they juxtapose against digital selfies that are only valid till the next one is constructed, my paintings are a monument to now.
If you enjoy these there is an exhibition in the Central Goldfields Gallery in Maryborough, Victoria, Australia from the 10th of September. Previews are available in Melbourne starting today. The online preview is here www.harleym.net