Friday, November 27, 2015

Brian Rego

Brian Rego, Poles and a Parking Lot, 11×11 inches


I plan to occasionally post articles where I ask one or two questions to emerging perceptual painters who explore inventive possibilities to an old tradition. The first artist in this series is Brian Rego, a painter living in South Carolina whose work impressed me by his vigorous treatment of the paint surface and a gritty abstract structure. The most engaging pieces are of mundane subjects, easily overlooked, such as a wedge of disturbed concrete pavement, one car in the corner of an empty corner of a parking lot, light on a storage shed and similar material; where the story-lines may be muted but still delivers a compelling read of visual delights.


Brian Rego, teaches at the Univ. of South Carolina in Columbia and received his MFA in 2007 from Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He has shown his work in a number of solo and group shows and is also a member of the Perceptual Painters group.


In an email I asked Brian:
The subject matter in your outdoor painting tends to be unremarkable, commonplace views such as a corner of a parking lot. As in most good painting the visual interest is in how you translate these view into paint. Could you speak briefly about your considerations for deciding on what to paint. What is your process with painting outdoors?

Brian Rego:

It’s all a matter of space. I suppose understanding the way I respond to it, and articulating it in a way that is meaningful to me. The way one plane of color will describe a specific location of space in relation to that of another plane of color. I have sky here and I’ll have a field there, but the distances between the two are always changing. The modulation of forms as they move through space are always changing. This is something that is very interesting to me. How do I paint a volume that doesn’t just relate to itself, but to the whole space? How does the understanding of that volume change the nature of the whole painting? I don’t go for the exterior significance of a particular subject or anything like that when I am painting outdoors, I am not interested in preserving it as much as I am in discovering it, turning it inside out, crumpling it up and throwing it back out there.

Wedge 10×13 inches oil on linen

In an artist statement Brian Rego previously stated:

“I paint my subject from life and consider it to be a great joy and an immense struggle. I hope to capture the feeling of these synonymous realities in my paintings. For me, the purpose of painting is to tap into something that is profoundly human, something sensual that lies on the fringe of memory, a reality both strange and familiar.”

Salty’s 16×20 inches oil on linen

Lady Street Parking 12×16 inches oil on linen

potato storage, 9×12 inches, oil on linen, 2010

Yellow Houses 14×18 oil on linen

The Airstream 8×10 inches oil on linen

The Chemical Shed, 11×14 inches, oil on linen

Elizabeth’s Flowers, 12×16 inches, oil on linen

the hayloft, 28×38 inches, oil on canvas 2008

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13 Responses to “Brian Rego”
  1. Chris Hargens says:

    I very much enjoyed these paintings — lots of energy and a certain edginess, not from content but execution.

  2. That last painting of the hayloft is great. I’m drawn to it’s symmetry and deep shadows. Does the indication of a grid in the upper portion of the painting mean that this was a more planned out and studied painting? Just something I noticed…great work

    • Larry says:

      I agree, terrific painting and you’re likely right this painting was done over a longer period, this painting is somewhat older as well. By the way, Francis, I mentioned you to him as you will soon be living fairly close to where he lives, if you aren’t already down there.

  3. I am searching for a website where I can possibly purchase paintings by Brian Rego.

  4. Philip Koch says:

    I enjoyed Brian Rego’s paintings very much- wonderful sense of design and unexpected points of emphasis. Keep up the good work.

  5. Richard Dean says:

    Thanks for this, Larry. I’ve beeen introduced to so many terific artists I would have otherwised missed through this site. Very interesting work; the smaller, crustier and murkier they get, the better and more personal they become, imo.

  6. says:

    i hate muddy, graphic paintings

  7. I enjoy the commentary…happy to see a variety of painters working from life interviewed and featured.

  8. Fran Soboeiro says:

    Brian has found a new fan – me! The world translated in shapes and values of subdued color; a very restful yet exciting interpretation.

  9. Elielson Messias says:

    Brian Rego blends paint with poetry and transforms the unassuming landscape (a parking lot, for example), creating visual poems.

  10. Mark says:

    I totally loved the painting Poles and parking lot by far my favourite

  11. claudia fountaine says:

    You know what really fascinates me? When you’re painting, the conflict (push / pull) between careful consideration of let’s say, the edges of things, the line that two shapes form when they meet….. and the opposite dynamic of painting ‘broadly’ or wildly with seeming abandon and energy, not controlling the line at all, but letting the energy from your brush stroke take over. Back and forth, back and forth, controlling, and then ‘messing it up’. Do you get what I mean? Balancing those two opposing forces seems to me to be a big part of realist painting. It’s like a metaphor for Life….

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