"Thin Places" Not Quite Thick Enough

In the current exhibition "Thin Places," on display at The Vineyard Church of Houston in the Heights, each artist has given his or her interpretation of the "veil that separates heaven from Earth." Peel back a corner of the veil and just maybe you will see your maker. The exhibition is a group show featuring photography, collage and mixed media, under the thematic umbrella of spirituality and a higher power. Because the show is being presented in conjunction with FotoFest, much of it was simple photography, which happened to be the strongest pieces in the show.

A series of photographs, "The Great Physician" by Hala Aboudaher Needham, found an intimate and painful look at what happens behind the hospital curtain. The series felt like a story, beginning with a tearful diagnosis to a surgeon's table to more tears, but this time of joy over a newborn baby.

In another series of photographs, "Postures of Mourning" taken by Mike Higuera, haunting faces and contorted bodies in the various states of mourning beg for your sympathy. The images, some multiplied for exaggeration, almost blended into their pitch-black backgrounds, which was a very effective method. A young man stares from out of a dark place, his face filled with despair, a woman in the throws of emotional pain, each moment captured beautifully by Higuera.

In "Woven," artist Alison Higuera erected large mixed-media images of pregnant bellies and covered them with a crisscrossed pattern made from yarn or string. In her own description of the work, she alludes to the "handiwork" done by God in creating humans. The insinuation of the crisscross, then, references the many types of creations we see, craft, women and their unborn children.

While there were some standout pieces, "thin" may have been more of a description of the quality of the overall show than anything else. The show lacked substance as a whole, and I had a difficult time connecting the dots between the featured works and the theme of the exhibition. The show is certainly worth stopping by if you are in the neighborhood, but I would not go out of my way to make the trip.

"Thin Places" is currently on exhibition at the Vineyard Church of Houston, 1035 East 11th Street. Through April 8. Saturdays 12-5 p.m. and Sundays 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Free.

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