L. Aviva Diamond at Moorpark College Art Gallery
through January 21st
By Jennifer Susan Jones
Say the words Light Streams slowly, deliberately. Notice the textures of the sounds produced by each letter, the long vowels that linger, the “t” sounds that trickle and flick, the “r” sounds that drag and snag, and the “s” that hisses calmly then sustains.
The complex sounds contained within the confines of these two simple words are musically varied; qualitatively unique alongside one another, lovely when given the chance to shine.
The magic, however, only comes into play when a human mouth takes the time to speak, and a human ear takes the time to listen.
Viewers experiencing L. Aviva Diamond’s exhibition, Light Streams, are invited to apply the same calm and careful perceptual approach as they gaze into her twelve, large, immersive, black and white photographs.
Here, the subject matter is — at face value — as commonplace and mundane as the letters making up this sentence. For it is something we interact with every day at the sink, in the cup, in the shower. But if we are lucky, we see it as Diamond did when she was inspired to create these works: running splendid and playful in nature, over the rocks and tiny pitfalls that tickle its belly.
In Light Streams, Diamond gives us the chance to experience water intimately, meditatively, spiritually. And when we fully embrace this opportunity (and forego the tendency to intellectualize), these 2D vertical surfaces — placed at eye-level, occupying our entire field of vision — present us with every curve, every splash, every bubble. Each ripple and each swath of milky vapor that the artist has intensified via the use of digital blurring and blending techniques.
In these twelve homages, Diamond amps up water’s textural volume, giving the life-sustaining fluid the honor it deserves. For in these works, we see infinity.
Infinite perceptual possibilities exist here: one viewer may glimpse frogspawn; one may see cell replication, or platelets; one may see the silhouette of a mountain whose peak is emitting a beautiful, snaking glow. Regardless of what is seen, one is truly experiencing nature on a fundamental, powerful, and sensual level. Here, the artist has captured a moment in time, immersing the viewer in the dynamism — the mystique — of life itself.
Presented in black and white (as opposed to the greens, yellows, and blues our eyes expect with this subject), Streams brings us the experience of water in an altogether novel presentation. With perceptions shifted, the viewer gazes into twelve windows: in one window we are leaning over a dizzying cliff-edge, our eyes landing on the spot where the surging sea pushes at the shore. And in another, the blurred movements of the water seem to lift toward the viewer’s eyes, giving the illusion of — a close-up snapshot of — the thick, lush fur of a grizzly bear. And in yet another, viewers suddenly find themselves spelunking within a cave forged by a relentless, churning river, whose racket echoes into the dark recesses of what lies beyond.
Streams provokes thoughts about the inner workings of the human body, the rushes of life-giving fluids, the expansion of soft and forgiving tissues, the neural pathways of our beautiful brains; the origins are mysterious, ancient, sacred.
Look at the stars on a clear black night. Look at the hazy trails of the Milky Way; the strange and comforting clouds present at the next full moon. Notice the slow wonder that unfolds as you watch the gifts nature gives forth. Diamond has captured the mystical human/nature experience in these works by giving us a deep, rich glimpse into simple complexity. Slow down…and read…the textures of her visual poetry.
Light Streams is on view until January 21, 2019
Moorpark College Art Gallery, Administration Building
7075 Campus Rd. Moorpark, CA.
Gallery hours are Monday – Thursday, 9am – 9pm
Friday 8am – 12pm.