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Portfolios: Burlesque


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Comment by Resident Curator on November 21, 2018 at 8:33pm

Curator’s Comment:


The frankness of this direct work is both refreshing and unusual. The large proportion of empty space around the model and traditional drawing media positions her as the subject of an academic study.  However, while the attention to anatomy is superb, the wig and ornaments layer her with an underlying narrative.  I’m glad the piece came up randomly on the site today, and I didn’t immediately recognize it in the context of your portfolio of Vaudeville performers that I’ve greatly admired over the years.  If I had, I might have been too quick to jump to that understanding of this figure in contemporary Burlesque culture.  Without the colorful costume as visual cue, the viewer contemplates the theatrical nature of the pose and expression of the model.  Her gaze is candid and unwavering, but without the push and pull of sexualized parody. Stripped of some of the lavish attire, we read her as more vulnerable and accessible. She holds the marks of an individual expressed in your last group of straight-on portraits.  I see her as a transitional bridge between these two bodies of work, and ultimately a link between the performer and person beneath the mask.  I realize it was posted some time ago, and I do hope you share what you’re working on now.


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