FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 6, 2007

CONTACT: Tom Plante, (908) 527-4746
Seb D’Elia, (908) 527-4419


Paintings by Joe Lugara of Union on Exhibit at Pearl Street Gallery


ELIZABETH, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to present an exhibit by abstract artist Joe Lugara in the gallery space at the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs, located at 633 Pearl Street in Elizabeth. A selection of Lugara’s work entitled “Martyr’s Needle and Other Paintings and Drawings” is on display at the Pearl Street Gallery through October 4. Gallery hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

The painter (and future film student) made his first paintings by copying the covers of a favorite childhood fan magazine devoted to horror films, the maladroitly titled Famous Monsters of Filmland.


“I owe very nearly my entire visual vocabulary as a painter to the horror films of the 1930s and ‘40s, the ones I watched on late night television,” Lugara said. “I certainly don’t paint Frankensteins and Draculas anymore, but I can say with confidence that something of the spirit of those films has become a kind of permanent theme in my work: That sense they had that the world is a mysteriously appealing, but also mysteriously perilous, place.”

Lugara cites among his various influences the paintings of Vincent van Gogh and Charles Burchfield, plus the sculptures of David Smith and the films of Buster Keaton and Luis Bunuel.


“Films are as important to my development as the paintings I’ve looked at,” said Lagara. “Images beget images, and films have contributed a lot to my approach. … I try to vary focus, to give my pictures at least some sense of having a foreground, middle ground and background. It’s that unconscious absorption of depth that brings them face to face with the picture’s mood. Mood is what it’s all about. I often think of my paintings as functioning somewhat as little films: One might come off as a comedy, another a swashbuckler, another a drama.”

Joe Lugara has shown extensively throughout the region in solo exhibitions including the New Jersey Center for Visual Arts in Summit, the Atlantic City Art Center, and the Schering-Plough Corporation World Headquarters. He was awarded the 2007 Curtis Hillyer Memorial Award for Watercolor. A graduate of Seton Hall University and a resident of Union, Lugara is a former award-winning reporter who works in marketing.

Union County artists (whose works can be hung on a wall) interested in exhibiting in the gallery are welcome to apply. For more information about the Pearl Street Gallery or to learn about other programs and services please contact the

Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs,
633 Pearl Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07202.
Telephone (908) 558-2550. NJ Relay users can dial 711.
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