Leah Emery embroiders scenes from hardcore pornography. Confronting poses are picked out in neat cross-stitches. The viewer of her work becomes a voyeur.
Emery has carefully chosen her medium to achieve maximum contrast with her subject matter. The more explicit the pornographic scene, the greater the divide between it and the restrained, traditional, female craft she employs.
Emery’s images provoke consideration of a chain of oppositions as drawing room merges with bedroom, public meets private and restraint clashes with prurience. Close up her tiny stitches resemble the pixels in a grainy photo. Stepping back reveals the whole scene but in a sanitized form. Silky embroidery thread smoothes hair and disappears sweat; untouched, virginal white canvas surrounds an explicit scene.
Emery came to her subject matter by accident when an explicit email arrived in her Spam folder. She is not trying to shock but instead wants to encourage a healthy sexual debate.
Emery won the 2013 Yen Staedtler Female Art Award and was a finalist the 2009 University of Queensland Artist Self Portrait Prize.