Cathy Daley honored female power through fashion
No artist has immortalized the little black dress, just like the Canadian artist Cathy Dalley.
The artists the works are to be seen at Newzones Gallery in Calgary, featuring the artist’s famous black pastel drawings on vellum, in honor of the artist’s recent passing on March 2.
From high heels to tutus, flowing gowns to long black gowns, Daley was a master of the feminine gaze, capturing high fashion in its most elegant form – and for the fashion crowd, it’s as if the work is a reminder of party silhouettes Vogue editorials of the 1950s, recalls the graceful stills of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and even recalls black and white fashion photography by Irving Pennof the 1930s.
All of her drawings had a similar quality: she knew when to stop. Each design is carefully balanced, never overdone. His works were simple, clean, stained yet unique, and a favorite among interior designers who placed his pieces in high-end homes in Toronto and beyond.
Among Daley’s most notable works of art are a sculpture called “Little Black Dress”, a 17-foot-tall fabric dress, and “Soft Stiletto”, an oversized vinyl shoe with a stiletto heel, collapsed .
“These two pieces evolved from drawings, just like The little black dressa video animation I produced from hundreds of drawings of black dresses changing into a variety of shapes, which references early 1950s cartoons,” writes the artist on its website.
As the artist once said of his work, “It’s a record of what happened. It feels more alive that way, with proof of the process. I work on a drawing then I rework it. The big drawings I make on the floor so I can move around. It’s a very physical process, being immersed in the work.
According to the gallery, Daley died peacefully on March 2. Helen Zenith, director of Newzones, wanted to honor the artist and his memory with an exhibition of Daley’s drawings.
Zenith remembers his first visit to Daley’s studio in Toronto more than 30 years ago.
“A perky little redhead invites me in and as I glance around the room, I notice the stacks are filled with rolls of vellum. Stapled to every inch of the wall, leaning plywood and floorboards, are drawings made with sticks of black oil, graphite.
She remembers the “energy that felt like a sea of black dresses swaying everywhere” in Daley’s drawings. “After that first experience with Cathy and her work, I knew I wanted to exhibit this extraordinary artist, and fast forward nearly three decades later, Newzones and Cathy Daley have had an incredibly rich journey together,” she said. .
Newzones gallery director Tamar Zenith (Helen Zenith’s daughter) recalls Daley’s works as “sexy, sassy, energetic designs.”
Although she traveled the world with Daley’s drawings at art fairs for nearly 30 years, things took a bittersweet turn when Daley fell ill.
“In early December, while Cathy was in the hospital, we had a difficult conversation about postponing her exhibit, which was supposed to open March 5,” Zenith said.
“Her goal was to get home and get into the studio.”
Watercolors and digital drawings on Daley’s Instagram Account “Are from a long hospital stay for most of November, December and part of January,” Zenith said.
“Cathy was always generous in donating her work to raise funds for causes she embraced. She was humble, shy and quiet, but her power and strength were expressed in her drawing. Her artistic practice was her life and her life was art. She never missed a day in her studio. She worked until the end, despite her failing health.