A Dose of Reality

Whether depicting a basket of apples, a weathered jean jacket hung over an American flag or the flared nostrils of a carousel horse, artist David Brega has a way of making each of his paintings come to life. A master of trompe l’oeil, Brega’s works hang inside a restored barn studio in Marshfield.

“Trompe l’oeil is a French word that means to fool the eye,” says Brega.  “Trompe l’oeil is always still life, but still life isn’t always trompe l’oeil.” Brega draws inspiration from various objects that he has seen at the Brimfield Antique Show and area antique shops.

Brega attended Paier College of Art in Hamden, Connecticut, where he studied under the acclaimed American trompe l’oeil artist Ken Davies. After graduating from college, Brega worked for a while painting billboards in Las Vegas, while trying to define his career goals. In 1986, his work was displayed for the first time in the Alexander Gallery on Madison Avenue in New York City. After being reunited a few years later with the founder of the gallery, Alexander Acevedo, Brega’s work was featured in another show that proved to be pivotal in his career. “It was there that I showed my most influential painting ‘Homage,’” says Brega. 

The historic structure that houses David Brega’s studio and gallery once was home to the Hatch Livery Stables in the late 1800s and the offices of the Marshfield Mariner a century later. In August, the gallery will feature the work of watercolor artist Elena Prentice and painter Gustave de Stael in an exhibit called “South Shore Revisited.”—Sam Anderson

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