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LYDIA MCCARTHY

Non-Game Ecstasy
November 18 - December 17, 2017
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 18, 6-8 PM 



Essex Flowers is pleased to present Non-Game Ecstasy, a solo exhibition of new work by Lydia McCarthy.

Non-Game Ecstasy is part of an ongoing series of photographs and installations based off of The Psychedelic Experience, a manual by Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner and Richard Alpert (Ram Dass). Leary’s manual divides psychedelic experience into distinct stages and aims to conduct the seeker safely through their entheogenic trip, into the deep, complex realms of the unconscious. McCarthy builds alternate realities through in-camera manipulations on color film, creating her own spiritual lexicon derived from descriptions of each stage and from personal experience.

In Non-Game Ecstasy, the gallery space becomes a place of psychedelic worship, adorned with vestiges from these journeys. According to the manual, during the moment of ego-loss, the spiritual seeker separates from the game reality of everyday life and is confronted with the full experience of light and dark. In this installation, dual forces divide the space, leading towards a perceived ultimate freedom of self-disintegration. White and black, RGB and CMY exist in a state of uncertain equilibrium. Objects rise up through the void, saturated, plastic and glittering. This work moves through complementary energies, with the acknowledgement that each contains the other and that reality is contingent upon perception.

Lydia McCarthy is a Brooklyn-based artist. Her work has been exhibited widely, including 106 Green, Essex Flowers and the Scandinavia House in New York and NAU Gallery in Stockholm. Lydia’s work has been reviewed and published in The New Yorker, Art F City, The Wall Street Journal, Dossier and the Huffington Post. She received a yearlong American-Scandinavian Foundation Fellowship and has held residencies at the Banff Centre and the Vermont Studio Center. Her book Vision 5: The Vibratory Waves of External Unity was released with Silent Face Projects at the New York Art Book Fair this fall. Lydia is an Assistant Professor of Photography in the School of Art and Design at Alfred University.