Leah Emery: Twist and Shout - Art Collector

Leah Emery, Upside Down 4, 2014. Embroidery thread on vintage aida cloth, 9 x 13cm. Courtesy: the artist and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney

The art practice of Leah Emery is preoccupied with pitting subject against medium by turning appropriated vintage hard-core pornography into gracefully hand-stitched curios. In the series Twist and Shout, the artist takes this conflict a step further. She has collated a broad terrain of human landscapes in tenuously humorous scenarios that feature acts of sexual congress in awkward contortions, rendering them largely devoid of the expected titillation.

Crafted through the laborious and traditionally domestic art of cross-stitch, the works question whether it is possible to distil the beauty of Emery’s meticulous needlework from such difficult material, or whether these disparate worlds are inextricably linked. The confronting anthology of bodies twisted in the throes of carnality incites the viewer’s curiosity, and the flimsy line between viewer and voyeur is quickly erased. On close inspection the works are pixilated, allowing the spectator to observe their delicate matrix of colours, textures and craftsmanship, yet when stepping back the prurient imagery quickly falls into focus. This catalyses a contradiction between the beauty of the needlework and the vulgarity of the pornographic protagonists in a way that leaves the viewer pondering whether the divide between good and bad, naughty and nice, has been comfortably fathomed.

Some of the content featured in this exhibition may cause offense.

Exhibition opens: 3pm Saturday 5 April 2014
Exhibition closes: 26 April 2014
Location: Sullivan+Strumpf, 799 ELizabeth Street, Zetland NSW 2017
Contact: 02 9698 4696
Email: art@sullivanstrumpf.com

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