At the wellspring of my creative process exists a fecund visual silence.
— Lia Chavez
“Dynamic Images” evolved from Chavez's 2012 “True Light” performance. Drawing on the practice of Darkness Meditation, these works combine the photographic language of exposure and light with contemplative focus to contribute a new interpretation of the photographic.
During “True Light,” Chavez discovered her 90-day fast from solid food facilitated such an excess of physical and mental energy that only 3-4 hours of sleep were required each night for her to awaken fully refreshed. Substituting her own contemplative focus for a photographic lens, she developed the ritual of spending late night hours in a dark room praying over sheets of light-sensitive paper. Over the course of True Light, one piece was created each day. Each piece in the series touches on themes of provision, healing, and transformation in the lives of the artist and her friends. Chavez states, “We know from the physical universe that form is the manifestation of two forces in relationship. Each living thing is a kind of dynamic image which emerges from relationship, so on a fundamental level the image is reciprocated presence."
By serving as a lens for invisible light, these works recall the photographic process in which the mental image is “developed” in the course of the time it takes the artist to touch and speak over the paper’s surface, in the same way that an image is developed on photographic paper in the chemical bath in the darkroom, or on the film in the camera. Such exposures to the artist’s contemplation lasted up to several hours. Although these works wholly bypass direct representation, contrasts and contours in the conceptual images are similarly intensified by a longer “exposure” of the prayer onto the paper. Once she deems the contemplative cycle complete, Chavez develops the paper in traditional photographic chemistry. In the end, the photographic image transcends ocular visibility and instead journeys directly into the world.