Carolyn Raship detail from "The Louise Brooks Triptych, Part 1" 2013
I've been long overdue in posting about Carolyn Raship. She's a Brooklyn-based illustrator who specializes in retro-aesthetics with a twist of gothique, and her drawings manage to be both light-hearted and noir at once. Her new body of work, "The Choir Girl Show" examines the show-biz origin stories of several historical dames, and opens at Dixon Place tomorrow evening via a musical extravaganza:
Solo Exhibition from February 4 - 22
Wednesday, February 5 at 7:30pm
The Chorus Girl Show
Featuring Carolyn Raship's stunning & large ink and watercolor pieces showing the interesting and scandal-filled lives of women who began their professional lives in the chorus - then wound up as movie stars, writers or infamous.
Join us for the opening party on February 5 with performances by Charming Disaster, Anna Copa Cabanna, Killy Mockstar Dwyer & more!
During the first half of the 20th century becoming a chorus girl was both the most typical entree to show business and a constant punchline. The Chorus Girl was a cliche and a type: tough talking, avaricious, gold digging, dumb. As with most things, the real women often transcended the cliche. Show business and crime, dreams lost, lives lived into little old lady-hood -- and lives cut short. Glamour and art and intelligence. These works are drenched in blood and feathers and gilt trim, and -- like the early movies many real life chorus girl appeared in -- have no formula.
Intricate pen and ink and watercolor fantasias depict moments out of the lives of Princess White Deer (Native American performer who headlined on three continents, played the Palace, and starred in the Follies), Evelyn Nesbit (the teenage chorus girl who played a central role in The Crime of the Century, the murder of Stanford White by Harry K. Thaw), Olive Thomas (legendary Ziegfeld star and whose death was the first Hollywood scandal) and Louise Brooks (serious dancer, legendary chorus girl, movie star, artist and writer). As in the lives of these complicated and fascinating women, nothing in these works is just what it seems.
CAROLYN RASHIP is an artist, illustrator and sometime writer and director of theater. You can find her work online under the guise of Caviglia's Cabinet of Curiosities. She wrote and directed the plays "Die Like A Lady;or What Barbara Got" and "Antarctica" (which was published in NY Theatre Experience's anthology "Plays & Playwrights 2008") along with numerous other works for the theatre. As a visual artist she specializes in meticulous pen and ink and watercolor portraits. Her obsessions include chorus girls, birds, sea creatures and crime.