Drawing on persistent cultural images inspired by ballerina tutus, the garb of fairy-tale princesses and Barbie doll couture, my work investigates childhood memories of what it means to be female in Western culture and explores cultural representation of the feminine and the body. The drawings mine contemporary vocabularies of glamour, fashion, popular culture, cartoons, street signage, Hollywood cinema, fairy tales, and mythology, to examine the iconography of the feminine as it exists in the cultural imaginary, personal memory, and fantasy.
I work primarily in the medium of drawing and almost exclusively with black pastel on
translucent vellum. This medium with its potential for overwriting offers me the
possibility of a spontaneous and direct working process. I use black pastel for its depth and wide range of tonality. The drawings often have an almost sculptural presence as a sense of volume is produced. I also use black pastel because it is an elemental drawing material.
Recently I have begun to incorporate collage elements culled from fashion magazines, combining mechanical reproductions with hand drawn gestures. Some of the new work has incorporated colour to explore visceral references to the body as well as it’s coverings
In addition to drawing, I have also created some sculptural works - “Little Black Dress”, a 17 foot high extravagantly slender cloth gown and “Soft Stiletto” a collapsed oversized vinyl shoe with stiletto heel. Both of these pieces evolved from drawings as did “The Little Black Dress” a video animation produced from hundreds of drawings of black dresses morphing into a variety of forms which references early 50’s style cartoons
Artist Bio / CV
Cathy Daley lives in Toronto and has been exhibiting her work throughout Canada and internationally since 1980. She has shown in numerous public galleries and museums, artist run centres and commercial galleries including The Power Plant, The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, The Saidye Bronfman Centre, The Southern Alberta Art Gallery, the University of Toronto Art Centre, Mercer Union and Museum Dhondt Dhaenens in Belgium. Most notably, her work is in the collection of The National Gallery of Canada and The Art Gallery of Ontario as well as many other public institutions and private collections. Her work has been written about in numerous publications such as Art in America, BorderCrossings and Canadian Art Magazine. She has received awards from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council and the Bertolt Brecht Fund of Berlin. She is an Associate Professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design. Galleries representing her work include Birch Libralato, Toronto, Newzones, Calgary, Eli Klein, New York, Caroline Dimnick, Paris, Edward Cella Art and Architecture, Santa Barbara.