It was in 1990-at the height of a worldwide economic recession that also marked the end of the 1980s art bubble-that Davey began photographing the scratched, worn-away surfaces of pennies, the most devalued and lowest form of currency. Her accumulation of one hundred micro-photographic specimens is constructed around the readymade patterns of decay that countless anonymous owners have unconsciously wrought upon their surfaces; their base materiality is incisively contrasted with the most elevated of national symbols. As with all of Davey's work, there is a melancholic sense of loss that connects subject and form: like pennies, photographs are objects of exchange imprinted by contact with the world around them.
[Murray Guy Gallery, New York]
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "After the Gold Rush: Contemporary Photographs from the Collection," March 22, 2011–January 2, 2012.