Also: CV & working photos of the artist.
Left to her own devices at a young age and consequently brought-up on a bitter and bizarre brew steeped in the fanciful visual worlds of Sesame Street and H.R. Pufnstuf together with the jumbled chaos and danger of dumpster-diving in early 1980s New Haven, Connecticut, Spy Emerson's work has come to lie (like her life) between the slippery negotiation of utopian dreams starring talking flowers and loving green-haired monsters and the unquestioned childhood acceptance of the extent to which life can be made disposable. Not surprisingly, the nine-year old Spy's earliest artworks might be understood as adolescent attempts to make her throw-away reality answer to the possibilities promised by the enchanted characters that eased her young nerves: When, after picking-out the discarded pizza boxes and table-tops from her neighborhood's trash cans she'd use a hodge-podge of discarded house paints to create images modeled on the work of Piet Mondrian - paintings that she'd then take back to her neighbors, door to door. (Seldom finding any who would appreciate the new life she'd tried to breathe into the abandoned items.)
Today, resettled in the San Francisco Bay Area, Spy's work is still concerned with many of the same issues that underwrote her earliest attempts to make sense of the disparate narratives that co-constitute all of our contemporary lives. Her works, which span various mediums, are each concerned with the task of making trash into treasure. They are ceaselessly formed in answer to the rather specific artistic challenge of how to make something beautiful and valuable out of materials and visual cultures considered worthless (discarded wood, discontinued film stocks, images from magazines donated to charity shops, etc.) Spy is fixated on re-presenting out-dated or marginalized materials and images (unearthed from second-rate 1970s porn magazines or photographs found on roadsides) in the languages of fine art in an attempt to question the manners in which these items (and their respective lives) were first made expendable. Correspondingly, her work not only demands that we recognize the ethics implied in our relationships with such detritus, but that we see the beauty inherent in these items' faded shines.