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Lydia McCarthy

Non-Game Ecstasy

November 18 - December 17, 2017


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.