Opening this weekend, Sunday March 4, from 1 – 4 pm, at the Watchung Arts Center, is an exhibition that you’ll want to see. It is the New Art Group’s latest show and it focuses on how each of us, as artists, react to things inside and outside of us in these tumultuous times.

Why the title, OMG? Because it so perfectly expresses the times for me and the other members of the New Art Group. In pulling together a yearly exhibit we strive to capture something that is relevant to people today and then hopefully reflect that in our work. With everything that is going on in the world today, the Republican race for the 2012 presidential nomination (the outrageous statements of Rick Santorum, the economic meltdown of Europe, the ongoing housing crisis in the US, etc, etc.) it’s challenging to make work and put together an exhibition of artwork that feels connected without wanting to run away from it all.

For me this concept gets dealt with by asking the question, “What does it mean to text or say, OMG (Oh my God)!”?

[pullquote author=”Paul XO Pinkman”]This phrase is used so casually that its relevance as a way
of expressing a sense of strong emotional response
seems laughable.[/pullquote]

There is, however, one thing that makes me feel OMG more than anything else these days. It is the way in which people of all kinds, all ages and all backgrounds live in between states or moments. We are always in the process of being. So rare is it to encounter someone who is grounded in the experience of the moment, that when I do I’m overwhelmed.

The work you see here is the latest in my ongoing Investigation of Identity. These particular works are expositions of the authenticity of being and how, most of the time, it lacks presence. Each person carries with him or her, to varying degrees,  a commitment to who they are without ever really knowing what that means other than superficially. Rather than offer portrayals of the surface, or artifice, of someone, these works are portraits of people in transition – the act of being both now and not now, simultaneously. It’s something we all do all the time and seldom notice.

For me, that is real OMG.