Born in Havana, Cuba, 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 in the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University.
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 1997, 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 and 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.
Alberto Rey’s 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. 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, and Saltwater Fisherman. Essays about his work have also been included in several books of which are outlined on his website (www.albertorey.com).
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 his research with his interest in 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 in western New York along the banks of Canadaway Creek where he works in his studio/barn, guides for steelhead in his backyard and continues to teach in the Department of Visual Arts and New Media at the State University of New York at Fredonia.