(HAMMONTON, NJ) -- Forty paintings from Joe Lugara’s series “Scrutiny” will be featured in a solo exhibition at the Noyes Galleries at Kramer Hall in Hammonton from July 13 – October 7, 2022. The exhibited works are part of a continuing series. Begun a decade ago, “Scrutiny,” which is still in progress, consists of more than 200 small-scale watercolor paintings on board. The images are abstract but suggest various aspects of nature—terrains, atmospheric conditions, insects, mud slides, plants, animals, bones, and fossils.
The artist describes the series as a nature walk. “Like the title implies, the series is about observation. I’m more concerned with how we observe nature than I am about depicting nature accurately. I wouldn’t be working abstractly if I were concerned with physical accuracy. My purpose is to produce shapes that vaguely suggest natural forms and phenomena. They should seem alien and yet distantly familiar, activating our imaginations as to what nature means to us. The small scale of the paintings should emphasize the sense and intensity of observation.”
Theme and process are linked. The forms hint at growth, decay, and regeneration—changes occurring through eons, a continuous movement reflected by the numerous revisions most of the works have undergone. Fingerpainted on primed boards, the occasional scratches, nicks, gouges, pitted areas, and scrubbings attest to their own evolution. The artist’s fingerprints, which are often visible, impart a sense of time, measured not in centuries but millennia, as traces of human curiosity and activity.
“Nature never stops being mysterious. The more we experience its details, the broader its overall mystery becomes,” the artist said. “That’s my goal with ‘Scrutiny’: to bring to the viewer, through a myriad of peculiar details, an exaggerated encounter with the range of the natural world.”
Joe Lugara’s paintings and photographic works have appeared in 40 exhibitions in museums and galleries in the New York Metropolitan Area and published in more than 20 magazines, including cover art for the literary journals The MacGuffin, Your Impossible Voice, Pithead Chapel, Right-Hand Pointing and Gone Lawn. He was nominated for a 2021 Best of the Net. Mr. Lugara graduated from Seton Hall University. He lives in New Jersey.
Selections from “Scrutiny” will be featured in issue #46 of Kissing Dynamite: A Journal of Poetry, beginning October 1.
An opening reception for “Scrutiny: 40 Paintings,” free and open to the public, will be held July 21 from 5:00pm – 7:00pm, with a closing reception September 15, from 5:00pm – 7:00pm.
The Noyes Galleries at Kramer Hall are located at 30 Front Street in Hammonton, New Jersey. Gallery hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30am – 5:00pm, and Thursday 8:30am – 7:00pm.
IMAGE: Joe Lugara, "Scrutiny 1" (Watercolor, 7" x 5")