Emily Mellor is a graduate of the Kenyon College Studio Arts Program in Gambier, OH. She is moving back to her hometown of New York to pursue a career in the arts and arts education. Most of these works are from her senior thesis project, Love Hurts. The statement for that show is posted below.
When we were very young, all we knew of love was what we learned from fairy tales. As the story typically goes, one fortunate day a lonely prince finds a lonely princess. The prince is instantly entranced upon first glimpsing her beautiful face. Usually he must save her from a ferocious beast or an evil stepmother, but this poses no challenge for the valiant monarch. As soon as they are both out of harm’s way, the two spend the rest of their lives happily ever after. Birds sing out, rainbows burst forth, and all evil disappears from their enchanted world.
Time passes in our own lives, and by adolescence the dreams of finding love at first sight have been slashed. Hearts don’t blossom; they break. Prince Charming is not searching for you; he doesn’t exist. Adulthood sets in and love becomes just another aspect of life; it comes and goes and sometimes it leaves scars. For the most fortunate, the magical idea of love is lost forever, replaced by a more practical understanding of relationships. For others, love tears apart the soul leaving them empty and afraid. It is the feelings of this latter group that I hope to display in my senior thesis project, ‘Love Hurts’.
These paintings are inspired by passages from the ancient Islamic tragic love story of Layla and Majnun, or by lines from songs of contemporary, angst ridden American musicians. While my paintings convey horrific scenes and dreary feelings, I hope that those who view my show do not leave with a sense of complete hopelessness. Though I do not wish to trivialize the very real feelings of the songwriters and storytellers who have written these words, there is a playful side to these paintings that reflects my own demeanor. The feelings I portray seem not only painful but beautiful as well. By seeing that these feelings have been and continue to be present in all culture, we can in the end find solace in the fact that heartache is universal. Though they may be drowned, burned, and shipwrecked on desert islands, our hearts recover and we persevere.