At Young at Art Museum in Davie, artist Sri Prabha has turned one gallery into a crystal-filled grotto where video art collides with science and spiritual meditation.
Light from nine video projectors dances and shimmers on the walls and ceiling, which are encrusted with crystal stalactites (not real, but painted Styrofoam) that stick out at 45-degree angles. On nearby pedestals are personal belongings such as metal cups and lockets covered in more crystal (real), which Prabha creates by dipping the objects in a solution of potassium aluminum sulfate. Images of mandalalike kaleidoscopes twist and jump around the room, as does video footage of solar flares, tides, crystal formations, trees and star clusters.
"It's like making an awesome curry, a huge beautiful medley. It's controlled chaos," Prabha, 45, says during a walkthrough of his new "Orbiting Cathedrals" exhibition, stopping to admire the color patterns.
Starting Friday, Jan. 30, four rooms in the museum will house the Hollywood artist's otherworldly video-projected art, where Prabha says visions of outer space can collide with spirituality and the unconscious mind.
"I don't want to be so conceited and say this is a place of enlightenment, obviously, but you can let your senses go and your consciousness expand in here," Prabha says. "In the old days, we went to cathedrals to find enlightenment. I figure these rooms will let us reflect on our own humanity. In a way, I feel like all my video art is like a Rorschach test, because what you see is unique to you."
Prabha collected a master's degree in clinical psychology at Argosy University near San Francisco, where he lived before moving to Hollywood in 2013 with his wife. He cites Bill Viola's experimental videos and David Lynch's eerie, "Eraserhead"-era films as inspiration for his video art. Though he no longer practices Hinduism, Prabha is fascinated with Hindu meditation principles learned in his hometown of Hyderabad, India.
"I'm more of an agnostic now. I do it for myself. But I also want to honor Jung's theories about the deep unconsciousness," says Prabha, who earned his undergraduate degree in video art at Cornish College for the Arts in Seattle and taught graphic design until 2005.
This is why science and spirituality, he says, tend to intertwine often in his video animations, created using five graphic-design software programs. Visitors who duck through a crawlspace carved into the crystal room, for example, will emerge into a room filled with a slowly rotating International Space Station, coral reefs and schools of sea bass darting along the walls, set to Claude Debussy's "La Mer."
To Zach Spechler, who operates Young at Art's in-house art collective Bedlam Lorenz Assembly, the rooms are "places where Mother Nature is taking over."
"These crystal structures take over our personal belongings and turn it into a time capsule for the future," Spechler says.
Opening in tandem with "Orbiting Cathedrals" is the third "Annual Interest" display and raffle, a group exhibition of 40 works from Francie Bishop-Good, Leah Brown, Tina La Porta, Henning Haupt, Pepe Mar, Sebastian Masuda, Tara Penick, Steve Sticht, Peter Symons and Michelle Weinberg. A third attention-grabbing show, "Guerra De La Paz: Nefelibata — Cloud Walker," will open in the museum's Knight Gallery.
Sri Prabha: Orbiting Cathedrals and Annual Interest 2015
When: Friday, Jan. 30, through May 3 (opening reception: 7:30-11 p.m. Friday)
Where: Young at Art Museum, 751 SW 121st. Ave., Davie
Cost: $11-$14 (reception: $25 for members and students, $50 general admission, $300 for raffle ticket)
Contact: 954-424-5022 or YoungAtArtMuseum.org