June 2017

Cathy Daley, Untitled, 1993, oil pastel on vellum, 76 x 152 cm. Collection of the MacLaren Art Centre. Gift of the artist, 2000. Photo: Andre Beneteau

Cathy Daley
Untitled, 1993
oil pastel on vellum
76 x 152 cm
Gift of the artist, 2000

Toronto artist Cathy Daley is known for her black pastel drawings on translucent vellum, in which she mines contemporary vocabularies of glamour, fashion, popular culture, cinema, and mythology. Over the past two decades she has continued to examine the iconography of femininity as it exists in the cultural imaginary and her own personal memory.

Untitled (1993) is part of an earlier series, Body Drawings. Somber in tone and densely rendered, these drawings reveal the presence of female figures curled up on the floor. The bodies twist and turn in their various reclining positions, as if enduring a bad dream or physical pain. The artist’s use of gestural, directional strokes and smudging reinforces the sense of despair that resides in the works. The Body Drawings reflect Daley’s exploration of the female identity, incorporating the emotional vulnerability and physicality for which she is known.

Cathy Daley received a BFA from the Ontario College of Art in 1975. Her work has been shown widely in Canada, Europe and the United States, and is held in significant collections including The National Gallery of Canada, The Art Gallery of Ontario, The Canada Council Art Bank and the MacLaren Art Centre. She is currently an Associate Professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, where she has taught since 1988.