Cathy Daley: Selected Works
Newzones Gallery of Contemporary
In her oil pastels, Toronto artist Cathy Daley has focused on the female body in cocktail dresses, slim sheaths and stiletto heels. These fanciful drawings have been described as "sassy, svelte, slinky, sexy, winsome, frilly, flirtatious, frou-frou and elegant". Beyond standard fashion imagery, Daley's impossible hourglass figures conjure up the essence of Barbie and Marilyn Monroe. As one writer aptly put it, they are "icons of elegance exaggerated to the extreme". The tarty night out on the town, the gala premiere and the explosion of Broadway glamour - from these Daley has taken an anonymous cast of characters and paraded them through several series of work. But they are clothes without bodies and torsos without heads, spinning solo across vellum grounds in a froth of delirium and delight like disembodied fashion whims. Cute as they are, it is hard to remember the kinds of messages about women that they represent. Their ironic beauty underscores the sad dictates of high fashion for women.
© Mia Johnson