March 25 to April 19, 1992
These two series of drawings by artist, Cathy Daley, address the experience of living in a culture which is inundated with images and clichés from advertising. Daley is interested in how, as we go about our day, we unthinkingly internalize these images and clichés. She critically addresses how the media and advertising affect our perceptions of ourselves and our interaction with others.
Daley renders images and phrases from memory, much like writing one’s impressions in a diary. She works spontaneously, applying oil and pastel directly to the paper, isolating each image and word on the page. The drawings are rich in colour, gestural and fluid. Upon completing several drawings, Daley rearranges them into groupings of three, considering the various meanings that are created as images and words stand in unusual relationships to one another.
Gut Reaction is a 36-part series that examines advertising’s tendency to equate women with animals. Daley’s images of animals derive from the form in which most of us initially come to know them: teddy bears, cartoons, piggy banks and picture books. Juxtaposed with these images are drawings of perfume bottles (scents) and animal metaphors commonly used to refer to women: pet, tame, fox and “live girls.” By isolating and displaying the images and words as a whole, Daley reveals how we use such terms unthinkingly, thereby continuing to reproduce traditional beliefs regarding women which are neither natural nor normal. Through such subtle language usage and advertising, society controls women just as we control animals, rendering them cute, entertaining and harmless.
In Legs, Daley ironically addresses the common advertising practice of representing female body parts in isolation. Glossy advertising images idealize and eroticize such body parts as lips and legs, transforming the lacking body into an object of desire. By drawing un-idealized legs placed in various positions, Daley “takes back” women’s bodies from advertising, playfully exploring how we express ourselves through our bodies.
Cathy Daley lives and works in Toronto. She has exhibited widely throughout Canada and Europe.
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