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Leonard Nobrega Exhibition Now Open at Renee Foosaner Education Center

 Leonard Nobrega, “Miami Sunset,” 2012. Oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

The Renee Foosaner Education Center of Florida Institute of Technology’s Foosaner Art Museum presents an exhibition of artist and retired architect Leonard Nobrega.

The exhibition, featuring visionary oil paintings by Nobrega, will be on view through Aug. 28 in the education center’s Frits Van Eeden Gallery. A reception will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, June 5 in the gallery, 1520 Highland Ave. in the Eau Gallie Arts District of Melbourne. The event is open to the public and held in conjunction with EGAD’s First Friday Art Walk.

Inspired by his dreams, Nobrega’s paintings depict abstract alien landscapes and extraterrestrials in bold colors. The artist sketches the images from his dreams after waking. The paintings feature dominant imagery of planets, moons, stars and alien figures, resulting in a modernist style that meanders towards naïvism.

Though Nobrega has experienced vivid dreams for decades, he felt inclined to explore them more seriously after retiring.

“I have a gift of seeing an image when sleeping. I dream of images that have great depth, with stars in blue skies as if floating in space,” he said. “I am now to a point where I have the time to develop the many visions that come to me in my dreams.”

Born in 1944 in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Nobrega, now a Melbourne resident, showed an affinity for art, color coordination and design at an early age.

His older brother encouraged his art as a child and enrolled him in classes at the Rhode Island School of Design, where was immediately noticed by art instructors for his abstract approach to a still-life project. In the seventh grade, Nobrega’s drafting teacher, impressed by his design and rendering abilities, introduced him a group of prominent Providence architects. Following an interview for a part-time position after school, he was hired as a junior draftsman, the start of Nobrega’s architectural career.

From 1964 to 1990, Nobrega worked as a draftsman for prominent architectural firms in Providence, Boston, New York and Fort Lauderdale. In 1995, he relocated to Melbourne, Florida, where he became partner in the architectural firm Peter Knoell and Partners. Currently, he works with Steve Kastner on local projects.

The Frits Van Eeden Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. For more information, call 321-674-8923 or email education assistant Amanda Brinkman at abrinkma2007@fit.edu.