‘Essex County Escapades’ art show at West Orange library

WEST ORANGE, NJ — West Orange Public Library is currently presenting an exhibition of contemporary realist paintings by artist Maria Mijares titled “Essex County Escapades,” on display through Sunday, May 23. 

The selection of artworks feature local subjects visited across decades, including the iconic Irvington WPA firemen’s training structure, Pabst Brewery from South Orange Avenue and some of Newark’s abandoned and torn down buildings, including Westinghouse, the demolition and construction of the Prudential Center, Paramount and RKO theaters, and Queen of Angels RC Church. 

Mijares has exhibited internationally in museum, university, corporate and alternative galleries, and is known for her four, large-scale, porcelain enamel murals at NJ Transit’s Bergenline Avenue Station Plaza in Union City. 

“I was born in New York City. Both sets of grandparents were from Santander, Spain, but lived most of their lives in the USA. My father’s parents retired and returned. Twice, at ages 2 and 6, my parents and I set sail with the big black trunks to spend a year in Spain,” Mijares said. “When we returned to the USA we lived in an attic apartment in East Orange. My father worked in Newark as a mechanical designer. After the second trip, we moved into an apartment above the barbershop on the same block as before. Drawn back to revisit the old hoods, I have found inspirations for paintings throughout the years. Newark’s abandoned buildings provide opportunities to preserve haunting and vanishing histories.” 

For more information, visit www.wopl.org.