American                                                                                                         Psyche

The Unlit Cave

An odyssey of fear and control in America.  (George Elsasser)

Press excerpts (continued down the page)      

"Jung at heart: a journey into America's subconscious – in pictures. The skies may be blue, but...Elsasser captures the part of the US that lurks in the shadows...”

---The Guardian

“Staring into the deep abyss of the American psyche, George Elsasser dramatically captures the great experiment standing on a precipice...”

---We Heart

$50 signed & shipped book from artist in contiguous USA  - Instagram visitors button works correctly in Chrome

Publisher: Daylight Books

ISBN-13: 9781942084839

Cover: paper over board                      

Size: 10 x 9 inches

116 pages; 4 drawings, 9 b&w & 67 color photographs

Design: Ursula Damm

Essay; Deborah McLeod

Afterword; George Elsasser

(other book details below)

Press excerpts continued:      

"...Elsasser's encounter with the work of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung some four decades ago etched a deep and indelible impression on the artist. In American Psyche: The Unlit Cave..., Elsasser's new book of photography, the artist constructs metaphorical expressions of Jung's “shadow”.  An archetype for that part of ourselves that is unconscious, unknown, unexamined, rejected, or repressed, the shadow in these photographs shot between 2005-2019, refers to the unconscious of the individual as well as the to the collective unconscious of America."

---Veer Magazine

"The work is divided into 6 sections (accompanied by 4 drawings by the author) where the photographs are visual metaphors that reflect the artist’s reactions to the best American ideals of inclusion and freedom (see the LIBERTY section) but also to the negation of it's darker tendencies born from fear (see the PREDICAMENT section), to colonialism and related persecutions of natives and exploitation of African slavery (SCAR TISSUE section), to the reluctance of the population to face the country’s problems such as climate and violence and integration (CURRENTS section), to the need to consider the collective unconscious (INNERSECTIONS section); but also to the discovery of those gifts that “allow people to see beyond or through the surfaces of life” (INTERFACE section)."

---F-Stop Magazine

"Visually seductive, but also demanding interpretation, Elsasser's work once prompted a professor to urge him to be less obscure, a suggestion that was met with, “Then I might as well write my ideas on an index card.” You won't find any index cards here. No, each viewer must penetrate beneath the lushly beautiful, albeit peeling, splattered, splintered, scarred, and scratched surfaces and peer through the screen or around the divide, while grappling with startling juxtapositions and uncomfortable contradictions. You must shine a light in the cave."

---Veer Magazine

other book details:

American Psyche: The Unlit Cave is a conceptual arrangement of photographs made in the United States from 2005 to 2019. The story begins with four of George Elsasser's drawings made in 1999. The photographs are visual metaphors mirroring the artist's feelings about racism in America, the current moment and our inability to live up to American ideals. Long affected by Carl Jung's concepts of synchronicity and the unconscious, Elsasser's story ultimately points towards inner journeys, clarity and healing.

George Elsasser who had been drawing since childhood, discovered photography at twenty-one and found that, unmoored from traditional uses, it was perfect for his artistic intuitions. He's been included in shows at the Chrysler Museum of Art and New York University (NYU). In 1997 he received a 20-year Retrospective at the Hermitage Museum, Norfolk, VA.

Deborah McLeod is a longtime curator and the owner of Chroma Projects Art Laboratory in Charlottesville, VA.