As the saying goes, “Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me,” but anyone who has been on the receiving side of the name calling knows this is really not true. In fact, the sticks and stones are sometimes less painful since we tend to recover more thoroughly from a physical wound than an emotional scar. Although sticks and stones can be taken quite literally, these two words can bring to mind all kinds of emotions. Sticks isn’t just about twigs, either. It is about what hurts us, like the stick of a hypodermic needle when we’re being given an injection or the stone of a ‘stone cold’ stare that someone might show you in anger. Exploring the many ways in which sticks and stones are used in our lives is what you experience in this exhibit.
Each of the six New Art Group artists, Susan Ahlstrom (Gillette), Francesca Azzara (Westfield), Joan Dreyer (Westfield), Jim Fuess (Berkeley Heights), Nancy Ori (Berkeley Heights) and Paul Pinkman (Plainfield), brings his or her own material and technical approach to the work as well. Their collective works range from abstract painting where the idea of sticks and stones is represented in the work, to mixed media, ceramic, encaustic, and photography, where you might see sticks and stones in a new light. As each person has had to deal with both the literal and emotional responses to sticks and stones, so, too, does each artist in the show offer a unique vision of how he/she has been affected by these objects and ideas.