Cathy Daley: She
Opening October 19th at Project Gallery in Toronto
Mining iconographies of the feminine through vocabularies of glamour, fashion, popular culture, cartoons, street signage, films, social media, fairy tales and mythology, Cathy Daley’s work acknowledges and explores masquerades of feminine identity with humor, depth and edgy beauty. Cultural imageries including historic female objectification in a range of civilizations inform her drawings.
This new body of work, inspired by a variety of representations, also explores the territory of childhood memory, feminine identity, as well as dresses and their relationship to movement as observer and observed. Daley’s drawings emerge from Russian constructivist costume, contemporary avant-garde fashion, Degas’ ballerinas, Toulouse Lautrec’s can-can dancers, the painted clothing of Matisse, vintage Hollywood cinema and many other sources.
The series of small-scale drawings interrogates clothing as cover, protection, and as a social display often relating to gender. Compositions are constricted and flowing; legs and torsos dance with swirling emotion and gestures. Her drawn bodies explore energy, strength and vibrancy while at other junctures something more unrealizable and unreadable occurs through stillness, vulnerability, and delicacy. Daley’s exaggerated use of form alludes to her sophisticated integration of figure and abstraction.
Daley draws with charcoal and black pastel on translucent vellum, in both large and small scale, individual pieces and linked series. Commenting on her use of media, she says, “Black pastel is an elemental drawing material that allows for the potential of overwriting involving a spontaneous direct working process with a wide range of depth and tonality that borders on a sculptural presence”.
Cathy Daley is a celebrated Canadian artist with work in numerous private, corporate and public art collections including the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario. She is the recipient of many awards and grants, and her work has been exhibited extensively nationally and internationally. Reviews of her work have also been published in Art in America, Border Crossings, Canadian Art and many other publications. She is an Associate Professor at the OCAD University.