Kris Kelley Studios
artist : freelance photographer



Diorama is a series of three miniature scenes enclosed in glass. Each scene represents a social issue using dolls and miniatures to enact the scene. Each Diorama also presents text related to each scene. By using dolls to portray each scene, Diorama uses objects often associated with childhood and juxtaposes them with social issues both related to children and adults creating an unsettling depiction or criticism of society.


Date: 2013

Medium: dioramas containing; Plexiglass, Gaterboard, transparency film, plastic dolls, plastic doll accessories paper

Sizes:  diorama 1, 18 x 14 x 14 inches, diorama 2, 12 x 10 x 10 inches, diorama 3, 10 x 6 x 6 inches 




Baby on the Back Burner depicts Madge, a pregnant Barbie doll, in an office and kitchen setting to comment on the difficulty faced by working women who want to “have it all.” The office and the kitchen serve different purposes, and by setting them in the same space the lines are blurred between the social (home) and work spheres. Working women struggle to separate and define these two spheres, but American culture forces these two spheres to slowly encroach upon each other until there is no difference between work and life. The potential consequences of this arrangement are alluded to in this work. Madge, recently pregnant, works away at her desk while a child sits in a pot on the back burner. Groceries are strewn about and the clock ticks away the time. The back burner becomes a double entendre, symbolizing both domestic obligations reserved for women and the notion that if a woman wants to pursue a career, she must put motherhood on the “back burner.” This represents the choice ambitious women must make: either delay motherhood for a career, or try to do both, which could mean putting family needs on the “back burner” when work priorities are high. The text on the walls represents the outcry of working women in their missions to be both mother and breadwinner, and the difficulty in balancing these contradictory pursuits

Le Corps et La Beauté

Le Corps et La Beauté combines fairy tales and articles to depict the indoctrination of young girls into societal beauty ideals. The doll anxiously checks her appearance in the mirror, measuring her body against the images of models she has curated. A collection of popular fairytales are strewn about the room. Each story reiterates the idea that the heroine is always beautiful and rewarded for her beauty with riches, fame and a handsome prince. In these stories, beauty is equated with virtue, as the beautiful are portrayed as kind and pure and the ugly are portrayed as cruel and evil. Fragments from these stories and publications are layered over the glass, distorting the view. The doll also views the outer world through this distorted lens, as she is enclosed in the box by these words. The text occupies her reflection, which represents how society’s expectations and beauty double standards can distort self-perception. The potential consequences of these distorted views are depicted in the doll’s excessive concern about and preoccupation with her appearance. These obsessions manifest themselves in compulsive eating, purging and body perfectionism disorders, as highlighted by the text.

Cautionary Tales for Children

Cautionary Tales for Children depicts the cycle of violence in abusive families. Light from the broken lamp on the floor illuminates the child doll raising his hand to beat his stuffed bear. Behind him, the father raises his hand in preparation to beat the child. Their shadows are projected together on the text from a 19th century children's book, Cautionary Tales for Children. The foreboding shadow of the child grows through projection, alluding to the dark future and psychological aftermath of child abuse. The shadows of the father and child merge, suggesting that they are the same, or the lines that defined these two are lost in darkness. The child’s shadow has been enveloped by the father’s shadow; he has become an abuser. The book Cautionary Tales for Children contains stories portraying corporal punishment as the consequence of insubordination. This scene employs the text as a cautionary tale, as it reinforces the learned concept of corporal punishments, as depicted by the uncle beating the child, and the doll beating his bear. Cautionary Tales for Children implores viewers to consider their actions and vulnerability, especially those who experienced child abuse and/or those who administer corporal punishments.