Art League Houston presents “The Space Between Grief and Morning,” an exhibition by Lamar University art professor, Prince Varughese Thomas. The exhibition metaphorically explores the process of grief and mourning in private and public contexts through drawing, video and photography. Thomas draws on art history, politics and references to death, as it relates to personal and communal loss.

Thomas said he wanted to know what it would look like if actors expressed their emotions using vocals. A two-channel video shows the difference between grieving physically and grieving by using music.

“I got a group of actors for one part of the video, and I got a group of musicians for the other part of the video,” Thomas said. “I asked actors to pretend like they were grieving for a fictitious death. I have a group of actors pretending like they are grieving or suffering from a lost.”

That actors and musicians in the video are all students at Lamar who performed an original choral composition by Composer Nick Rissman. Debra Ghreschner, LU instructor of voice, is one main characters in the video.

The show includes photographs of Thomas’ ancestors and family members. There is a tradition in many cultures of shooting an essence of family portrait with a dead loved on, Thomas said.

Thomas uses a binaural microphone that adds a different sensory experience. His drawings are sourced from tragic events that have happened all over the world.

“The show comes from almost 15 years when I became the primary care giver for my parents after they couldn’t care for themselves anymore,” Thomas said. “I cared for them every day. As you care for someone at an elderly age, you start to see the difference and aging of the body. I watched my father pass away with in the slow process of aging.”

Thomas said he turned personal loss into something productive

“For about six months I couldn’t make anything — I didn’t walk in my studio due to me trying to process everything that has happened,” he said. “Then I decided I wanted to do this show.“

It took him two years to draft the video.

“(I’m) trying to communicate a sense of a communal loss that we all share while dealing with loss,” he said. “Every artist experiences the world in their own unique ways — we tap into those experiences to try and communicate and share (our) common experience with others.

“As an artist, the biggest thing is getting your work seen.

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Bryson Wilson

UP contributor

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