Wednesday 16 May 2012

Marilyn: London trip part 2

While I was in London one of the things that HAD to be ticked off the list was seeing the Marilyn Monroe exhibition at the Getty Images Gallery.

A treat for any Monroe fan, this simple exhibition housed hundreds of beautiful black and white photos of the screen star (many I'd never seen before) alongside outifts that had belonged to her and costumes from her films. 

 A showgirl costume from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

As a life long fan I found the experience thrilling. To see a row of Marilyn size and shaped mannequins all wearing such familiar clothes was probably as close as I'll ever get to the lady herself. I took lots of photos but couldn't use flash because of the glass so some aren't as great as they could be.

I have to admit I got a little bit sentimental while viewing these great pieces of modern history and got glassy eyed when I saw her red sequin dress from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, my favourite Marilyn movie. I've probably seen that film near 50 times and it still fascinates me.

Marilyn with Jane Russell wearing matching red gowns in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Even though Monroe was the 'blonde' in the film she only recieved a tenth of the fee Russell got. However despite this the two bombshells got along just fine. This famous red dress is sewn with thousands of red sequins of different sizes. I wonder where Jane Russells version is?

 Marilyn in her 'Mermaid' showgirl costume from Bus Stop

The Bus Stop costume has a very sweet and patched up feel to it. A showgirl in hard times, this piece perfectly described the character of Cherie, beautiful, damaged and badly mended.

 The Pink Wiggle dress from Niagra

I've a feeling the bottom of this dress has been been cropped away ar some point as it doens't seem as long on the mannequin or have a split in the front. It is still undeniably a very sexy number outlining Mariyn's curves to perfection.

 The white muslin dress from The Prince and the Showgirl

This dress is very fragile and several mends can be seen in the front while a sizable tear can be found round it's side on the hip. I was quite surprised to see just how sheer this piece was. It's the kind of dress that would be very unforgiving on the wrong figure. As you can see she wore it wonderfully.

 Black beaded dress from Some Like it Hot

It's hard to believe that this dress was so tight Marilyn had to be lifted onto the piano for this scene in Some Like it Hot. The actual dress is pretty stunning and again, only a very specific figure could fill it out in all the right places. 

 Marilyn wearing her cream showgirl dress and headdress from There's No Business Like Show Business

I was really impressed with this outfit. It was so detailed and well made, a true tribute to the costume departments of the studios of yesteryear! The ironic thing for me is I really don't rate the film, it's one of Monroe's worst, one she only took as a deal so she could work on The Seven Year Itch.

This is a fantastic show so go and see it while you can. The great thing is it's free! But it's only on until the 18th May, thats two more days!!! If you can't get there I hope these photos and blog give you an idea of what it's like to witness the presence of a true icon through her clothes.

Sunday 13 May 2012

A Brush With Burlesque: London trip part 1

Yesterday I returned from London after spending a packed few days taking in some of the glamour currently housed in the city. It seems very apt that this was also London Burlesque Week and the perfect time for East Gallery on Brick Lane to host an exhibition of artists from across the UK who all have been inspired by the British burlesque scene.

 With my Bon Bon's paintings at A Brush With Burlesque

I am so happy to have been part of this exposee proudly presenting contemporary burlesque in all it's forms; From the comic to the seriously sensuous, A Brush With Burlesque covered it all, and it was fun to walk around the exhibition and recognise so many performers I either know or have seen on stage immortalised in paint and ink.

Works by Charlotte Rhodes, myself and Ella Guru at a Brush With Burlesque

I particualarly enjoyed works by Ella Guru, whose reclining burlesque figure Missy Macabre packed a punch! I could imagine this painting in a national gallery alongside Victorian nudes. There is something about it that has history, narrative, glamour but also grit; there's definately a story waiting to be told here.

 Linda O Grady's paintings at A Brush With Burlesque

I also enjoyed work by Linda O Grady whose detailed pieces captured performers almost unawares, heightening their mystery and glamour but also reminding us that they are real people too; confirming that burlesque cannot be confined by age or form.

Becky Ryan's pencil drawings were a delight to see; beautifully executed on brown art paper she creates small and complete pieces that make you want to look again and again.

Work by Mark Bell at A Brush With Burlesque

I also admired work by Mark Bell one of the curators of the show, whose paintings ooze atmosphere and elegance. Anyone who has been to see a good burlesque show will recognise the laughter anticipation and intimacy seen in his work.

 Work by Charlotte Thompson Morely, Charlotte Rhodes, Nick Beedles and Kev Grey at A Brush With Burlesque

The show was full of great artists, in truth I could talk about them all, if there was a 'like' button in the show I would have pressed it until it broke! The standard of art was incredibly high and varied and the good news is that if you missed the chance to see this treasure trove in person, the official website is staying online as a directory to all these fab artists. Plus you can catch a glimpse of the private view and more on the A Brush With Burlesque Facebook Page!

 Beatrix Von Bourbon next to her portrait at the private view. Photo by Alex Small

A big thanks to Mark and Sarah for curating the show and putting in all the effort, it certainly paid off.

 With Sarah in front on my painting 'Beauty Marked'

Tuesday 8 May 2012

A Brush with Burlesque, a visit to London

I'm off to see A Brush With Burlesque this week. I can't wait to see the selection of burlesque art by the UK artists which I am exhibiting alongside! The show features paintings inspired by the British burlesque scene and is a who's who of UK talent, so I'm going to play guess the burlesque perfomer while there! Also while in London town I will also be catching a Marilyn Monroe exhibit featuring clothes worn by the great lady herself, so I should be completely full to the eyeballs with glamour by the time I get home! Will report back soon***

A Brush with Burlesque
East Gallery
214 Brick lane
E1 6SA
1-7pm daily until 13th May 2012