Alberto Rey, Cuban-American Artist


Cuban American artist Alberto Rey’s work explores identity, place, and natural environment. While Ray’s early work explores the experiences of displacement caused by the immigration experience of Cuban Americans, later work explores biological regionalism as a means of reuniting local audiences with their unprotected natural resources.

Alberto Rey, Extinct Birds Project, 2018, Oils on wood panel

Alberto Rey’s series of books on native fish began with small studies of fish in the places where they were caught. The series continues with large-scale paintings, videos, water data, maps, and information on the history of the stream and the settlements that have settled nearby. Born in Agramont, Cuba, Rey grew up in Barnsboro, Pennsylvania, where his family settled after brief stays in Mexico City and Miami.

Today Alberto Rey is a professor of painting at the State University of New York at Fredonia. His exhibition Life Streams: Alberto Rey, Cuban-American Artist was organized by the Burchfield Penny Center for the Arts with the generous support of Richard Blanco and Sparhawk Oceanfront Resort.

Alberto Rey, Lost Beauty: Icebergs, 2020, Oils on wood

Life Streams

Alberto Rey’s Cuban American Art

Alberto Rey (b. 1960) “Biological Regionalism: King Salmon, Aniak River, Alaska,” 2012. Oils on wood; filler over wood, 42 x 63 in. Courtesy of the Artist.

Life Streams explores paintings, videos, sculptures, and installations by Alberto Rey, an artist whose work addresses issues of identity, cultural diversity, environmental studies, and global sustainability.

As a Cuban American artist living in western New York, Rey’s current work highlights his involvement with his community and his local landscape, especially his trout streams and the environment. Traveling from his home in the village of Fredonia in upstate New York to the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, and nearly every state in the United States, Alberto Rey gained insight into people, places, flora, and fauna.

His book Life Streams provides biographical information about Rei and a contextual study of his work. The contributors have written about Alberto Rey’s art and work from perspectives based on cultural studies, identity studies, literary studies, and philosophical studies.

His interest in his Cuban and American identity stems from his interest in global culture and his recent study of fish species and environmental issues. Thus, this book reflects contemporary approaches that focus on related cultural issues and contemporary issues related to the environment, conservation, restoration, and conservation.

Ray’s work opens up new perspectives on these topics as he combines art with activism at the local, regional, national, and international levels.


Cuban Portraits, Alberto Agramonte

Alberto Rey was born in Havana, Cuba in 1960. In 1963, he received political asylum through Mexico, and in 1965 he moved to Miami, Florida.

In 1967, his family moved to Barnsboro, Pennsylvania (inducted into the North Cumbria Community Hall of Fame in 2019).

Alberto Rey lived in this small coal-mining town until 1982. Then, he completed his BA at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania after attending the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

In 1987 Alberto Rey received his M.F.A. in drawing and painting and began traveling in Spain, Italy, Morocco, and Mexico. The following year, he enrolled in courses at Harvard University in contemporary art and environmental studies.

The same year, he had his first solo exhibition in New York at the Museum of Contemporary Latin American Art (MoCHA) and was also included in the permanent collection of the El Barrio Museum in New York.

Cuban Portraits, Hilda Agramonte

In 1989, the Cuban American artist moved to Dunkirk, New York, and married Janel Strong of Gloucester, Massachusetts.

In 1992, Rey’s paintings 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.

His works of art since 1986 have been influenced by his Cuban roots and his attempt to find a sense of identity in a complex contemporary environment.

After 1992, Alberto Rey`s drawings and paintings included realistic imagery as an attempt to establish a clear connection between his past concerns and art history, regionalism and its biocultural concerns.

In 2000, his reflections on modern society began to include environmental issues, views on modern art theory and history of art, biology and the disconnection between society and nature.


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