Born in Havana, Cuba in 1960, Alberto Rey received his political asylum through Mexico in 1963 and moved to Miami, Florida in 1965. In 1967, his family relocated to Barnesboro, PA. He lived in this small coal-mining town in western Pennsylvania until 1982 when he finished his B.F.A from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
After graduation, he lived in Boston, MA for a short period before heading to Miami to work on Christo's Surrounded Islands Project. He then moved to Fort Lauderdale, worked a few years, and returned north to begin his graduate studies at the University of Buffalo, NY. In 1987, he received his M.F.A. in Painting and began traveling throughout Spain, Italy, Morocco and Mexico. The following year while teaching in Boston, Massachusetts at Lincoln-Sudbury High School, The Art Institute of Boston, New England School of Art and Design, and the Museum of Fine Arts, he attended courses at Harvard University in contemporary art and environmental studies. That same year, he had his first solo exhibition in New York City at the Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art (MoCHA) and was also selected into the permanent collection of El Museo del Barrio in New York City.
In 1989, he moved to Dunkirk, New York to accept a teaching position at the State University of New York at Fredonia and married Janeil Strong of Gloucester, MA. In 1992, his works were selected into the permanent collections of the Albright-Knox Museum, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Bronx Museum of Art. In 1994, Alberto received the Hagan Young Scholar/Artist Award for distinguished research/creative activity as a junior faculty and the Minority Visiting Scholar's Award from Central Missouri State University.
In 1996, while at SUNY Fredonia, Rey accepted a position as the Director/Curator at the Chautauqua Center of the Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution. The next year, he was appointed to the New York State Council on the Arts and to the Artist's Advisory Panel of the New York Foundation for the Arts. In 1998, Alberto returned to Cuba for the first time in 36 years. In 2001, Rey received the Kasling Lecturer Award for distinguished research/creative activity as a senior faculty member and in 2003 is awarded the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activity. In 2007, the State University of New York's Board of Trustees promoted Professor Alberto Rey to SUNY Distinguished Professor for Research and Creative Activity, the state university's highest rank.
His artwork over the past 25 years has been influenced by his Cuban lineage and his attempt to find a sense of identity in a complex contemporary environment. His abstract work from 1982 through 1992 dealt with issues related to layered memories of Cuban iconography and his American experiences. After 1992, his drawings and paintings incorporated realistic imagery as an attempt to make clear connections between his past concerns and art history, regionalism, and Cuban-American politics. In 2000, his reflections on contemporary society started to incorporate environmental issues and it's relationship to art history, biology and social disconnections with nature. Shortly afterwards, he also began to work in film and video. His research has taken him throughout the United States, Wales, England, Isle de Saintes (Antigua), Aruba, and has made return trips to Mexico, Spain, Cuba, Iceland and Italy.
Alberto's paintings can be found in over twenty museum collections and have been in over 130 exhibitions. His films/videos have been screened nationally and his illustrated articles and artwork have graced the covers and pages of Gray's Sporting Journal, Art of Angling Journal, Fish and Fly Magazine, American Angler, Saltwater Fisherman and Buffalo Spree.
Since his relocation to western New York in 1989, he has performed extensive research on local entomology and on the migratory and biological sensibilities of the regional steelhead. He combined this research with his interest in sharing the spirituality of fly fishing to become an Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide and the Founder and Director of the S.A.R.E.P. Youth Fly Fishing Program.
Alberto Rey and his family live in Fredonia where he works in his studio/barn, guides on the steelhead stream behind his home and continues to teach at the State University of New York at Fredonia.
If you would like more information on Alberto Rey, you can contact him through his website at www.albertorey.com