The Virgin's Reliquary


Artist Cathy Hayes has been selected to be part of Love and Death @ Walcot Chapel, an exhibition curated by Geoff Dunlop as part of the Fringe Arts Bath Festival this May. Fringe Arts Bath is the Visual Arts component of the larger Bath Fringe Festival, which will run from 23rd of May through the 7th of June.

Since its inception thirteen years ago the festival has continued to go from strength to strength, developing into the vibrant and interactive experience of contemporary art it represents today.

Cathy Hayess recent solo show was the successful Misconception that took place in Dublin in 2014. While her work is inherently connected to the broader themes of love and death, Cathys art examines these elements through the mythology of the Virgin Mary and its residual impact on contemporary female identity.

Each of Cathy Hayes artworks selected for the exhibition are three-dimensional pieces.

The first piece, I Crucified the Virgin, begins as a painting which morphs into a wall sculpture. The artist has disrobed the Virgins blue tunic and exposed her body to reveal broken legs. She is tortured and crippled by her red high heels: these becoming a recurring motif in Cathys aesthetic for the control and denigration of womens bodies.

The Virgin’s Reliquary is a collection of homemade relics created from found objects: cosmetic boxes, tins, bottles, and baubles, bangles and beads. By butchering the Virgins body and re-packaging it in pretty boxes, Hayes highlights the persistent idealisation and objectification of womanhood from the origins of Christian dogma into the context of todays modern consumerism.

The Sedan Chair with Toilet Brush will be paraded as part of an outdoor procession on Sat 6th June. In this piece, Cathy takes inspiration from Velazquezs Pope Innocent X, yet boldly and stridently subverts this image of iconic power. In lieu of the papal figure, a ruby encrusted toilet brush with marigolds graces the throne. The artist has delved into the history of parading divine effigies, and her work actively questions the historical and sociological demotion of womens position from powerful creator to domestic goddess.

Details can be found at