Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Advisor

David Amico

Second Advisor

Rachel Lachowicz

Third Advisor

John Millei

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2012 Kathleen Melian


I am interested in the struggle in our culture to project an image and the burden of that endeavor. This preoccupation with image creation permeates our society as a whole and is not bound by social or economic status. In this body of work, I wish to expose a sense of the emotional fallout of such existence, and the truth beneath the fiction.

A twist to this narrative, is that the falsity is also a source of pleasure and enjoyment. This creative reinvention of self, although fraught with desperation and anxiety, offers intense satisfaction as participants take roles like actors who vie for fame and attention. The Hollywood party scene has taught us this.

I employ images as an object of identity for the viewers, forging a connection with the subjects. Figures in the scenes become stand-ins for the observer offering them a voyeuristic window to another life. The imperfections and inconsistent aspects are the most interesting for me because this is where potential lies for rupture as reallity andfiction collide. The fun of the charade grates on the spirit, beginning to wear thin.

In my work, the fantasies created by society multiply and become a complex system that deceives and creates a pseudo-reality, an entrapment for people. It becomes impossible to distinguish between fact and fiction. Society becomes a place of myth and artifice, both terrifying and sublime.

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