To me, being queer has been both the most joyful and playful part of my life as well as, often, the most painful. The simultaneity of these experiences, the bright and the colorful, falling in love, the late nights dancing, as well as the confusion and the heartbreak, is what I feel when I experience Holly McGraw’s work. They explore places and spaces of play, Coney Island, the Kiddie Pool, the dressing room, the garden, in which these feelings of freedom and fun can exist not in opposition to but in tandem with feelings of melancholy or anger. Dysphoric Euphoria emerges, then, as a collection that explores a moment in life in which one might feel both love for and alienation from their self and surroundings. Dysphoric Euphoria resists normative understandings of joy and selfhood with the messages “I’d rather be male then beautiful” and “Easy to consume & hard to stay with”. How do we affirm our ability to love and be loved even as we feel disconnected from ourselves? And who do we wish to embody, and for whom? In Dysphoric Euphoria, blobs, beach chairs, sparkly drinks, colorful sand, sequins and costumes come together to capture a moment in which we can let our experiences be layered and confusing in these ways, without writing them off as stepping stones to our future selves. 

-Clara Abbott