When I watch reality television I see a mythological tableau of cocktail dresses and hair extensions. What is reality television but another attempt to represent human interaction? To study beauty, love, drama, and competition: to entertain and distract through drama? It is the Iliad and the Odyssey in high heels and contoured makeup.

In the Greek Myth of the judgment of Paris, three goddesses wait for a mortal to offer them an apple proclaiming the chosen goddess the most beautiful. On “The Bachelor,” women wait for roses delivered at overly dramatized “Rose Ceremonies” when a man makes the choice of who he wants to keep dating and sends the rest home. The rose is a new manifestation of the apple: another symbol of validation.

My work examines this repetitive structure, this drive to create repetitive mythologies. Using screenshots from “The Bachelor” as source material for my lace and woven images, I weave screenshots like chapters in an odyssey and overlay digital patterns and lace grids to create veiled goddesses out of reality television starlets. Just as reality television becomes modern mythology, the rose becomes a new religious icon.

By rendering this iconic rose as a traditional rosette weaving pattern (often found in American coverlets) and in black and white lace, I explore this symbol as a repetitive image of purity, sexuality, traditional values, and femininity. The woven overshot speaks to the domestic space and the repetitive (often considered “women’s work”) of weaving. The filet lace rosebuds reference lingerie and wedding dresses, creating a literal manifestation of the Madonna/whore paradox which often defines female representation in modern society.

The question “will you accept this rose?” is asked at every juncture in “The Bachelor.” The opportunity exists to change the pattern and say no, but that choice is never taken. The story (and pattern) repeats itself.

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