As human beings, we are hardwired to experience Ecstasy, Epiphany, Laughter and Bliss.

Little children twirling in the summer sun to experience the altered state of becoming falling-down-dizzy are not very far removed from whirling dervishes seeking spiritual attunement with the harmonious spin of the planet. If the pull upward into ecstasy is mighty, human frailties dictate that the ascent will be an imperfect one, with use sometimes leading to the hell of abuse.

American Visionary Art Museum, “High on Life: Transcending Addiction”

There are images in Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum that Ray Materson finds hard to look at and hard to look away from. Images of people he’s been and places he’s seen.

In his piece “Daddy’s Little Princess and Her Knight in Shining Armor,” “Princess” in the bedroom tightens a belt around her arm to plump a vein so her hypodermic needle, filled with heroin and cocaine, goes in nice, feels good.

 

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Agony &

Agony &

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