Truth and Beauty

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Phillippa Mills on truth and beauty

Phillippa Mills currently has her own exhibition at The University of Exeter.

Called ‘Truth and beauty’, the exhibition uses mixed media to look at how the pursuit of beauty can easily cross the line into something morbid. Phillippa was partly inspired by her own past as a fashion model, where she saw young models starving themselves to achieve what was seen as the ideal body. A second major inspiration was the research of Catherine Talbot, a psychologist at the university, who examined the ‘bonespiration’ phenomenon on social media – young women posting pictures of themselves looking severely underweight, promoting a ‘skeletal’ vision of female beauty.

Phillippa came across Catherine’s work while working as a temp at the university, and Catherine has written a narrative for the exhibition.

The exhibition itself shows portraits of women tortured by their quest for some kind of unattainable perfection, alongside images such as a show pony that’s been euthanised, presumably because it too was unable to live up to an ideal.

These themes fit into Phillippa’s wider artistic interests – “My art explores the concept of perfection and draws a fine line between beauty and the macabre”.

‘Truth and beauty’ runs at The University of Exeter until the end of February 2018.