Saturday, March 3, 2018

Lydia McCarthy, Non-Game Ecstasy @ Essex Flowers

Pictures of random things in a show has become standard practice for contemporary photographers. That said, McCarthy is doing it to a reasonable end. She plays on the brain’s desire to make order out of the seemingly random, and then undermines this impulse by creating a disorientingly trippy chaos. Her work also hinges on her superb use of color, keeping to a stylish and upbeat palate of pleasantly bright pastels that easily produce a rather offbeat trip, especially with the contrast of the two dark outlier photographs. Her skill also extends past photography into sculptural aspects that result in a thoughtful installation, with brightly colored frames for the photographs, a geometric wall painting and lovely opaque lamps hanging from the ceiling mirror the color orbs in the two portraits of women whose emotion seem caught somewhere between dazed and joyful. McCarthy has created a strong body of photographic work that of late has gained a head of steam with her wonderful solo show last year at 106 Green and this excellent show at Essex Flowers. It should be interesting to see where things go from here.


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