Portugal and Spain: Solo Museum Exhibition and Fly Fishing Adventure


portugal- overall 100

Last spring I traveled to Spain to oversee the installation of a solo exhibition at the Museo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo – Extremaduran and Latin American Museum of Contemporary Art (MEIAC) in Badajoz, Spain.

museum shot

After the installation, I decided to go on an adventure and fly fish in Portugal. I was dropped off by the museum driver in Castelo Branco in Portugal and a few hours later my fly fishing guide picked me up and we drove to his neck of the woods where we fished streams that were used the previous year in the World Fly Fishing Championships.

alberto fish portugalrev100

I ate every meal with the guide and his wife at restaurants in the area and I stayed at a modest home that was been used by the fly fisherman year before. The entire time I fished I did not see another angler. The trip finished with a drive back to Lisbon along roads lined with cork trees. My last night was spent in the old section of the city in front of a  plateful of sardines, potatoes and fresh greens.

cork tree 100

Here is a detailed map of every step I took while on the trip as well as a few images to document the adventure. The map was created on my iPhone using the GAIA GPS app. It d0cuments everything you could possibly want from a trip. I am going to try to use more of its feature in Montana next week.

portugal detail 100




New Book Published About My Work And Life!

A few months ago, a book was published about my work and its relationship to what has happened in my life. I have never expected something like this but was very grateful that a pubisher, a few art historians, curators and writers felt that I was worthy of their efforts.

Life Streams
Alberto Rey’s Cuban and American Art

book cover

Lynette M. F. Bosch – Editor
Mark Denaci – Editor
SUNY series in Latin American and Iberian Thought and Culture

Incisive exploration of the work of Cuban-American artist Alberto Rey.

Life Streams explores the paintings, videos, sculptures, and installations of Alberto Rey, an artist whose work addresses issues of identity, cultural diversity, environmental studies, and global sustainability. As a Cuban-born artist living in western New York State, Rey’s current work emphasizes his involvement with his community and its local landscape, especially its trout streams and their surrounding environment. Through Rey’s travels from his home in the upstate New York village of Fredonia to the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, and to almost every state in the United States, he has gained an understanding of people, places, flora, and fauna.

This book provides biographical information about Rey and a contextual study of his work. The contributors have written about Rey’s work from perspectives based on cultural studies, identity studies, literary studies, and philosophical studies. Interest in his Cuban and American identities are linked to his interest in global culture and his recent study of fish species and environmental issues. As such, this book reflects current approaches that focus attention on connected cultural issues and contemporary concerns about the environment, conservation, restoration, and preservation. Rey’s work provides a new perspective on these topics as he combines art with activism on a local, regional, national, and international level.

“This beautiful book, with its meticulously researched essays, firmly places Alberto Rey in the context of American contemporary art as someone addressing issues of identity, hybridity, environmental ethics, biological decay, and resurrection. Like his trout subjects (Pacific coastal migratory fish introduced to the Great Lakes), he is a transplant, a hybrid. He is influenced by his many global travels, which, injected into his work, further supply the richness and texture that make him such an original artist.” — James Prosek

Lynette M. F. Bosch is Professor of Art History at the State University of New York at Geneseo and the coeditor (with Isabel Alvarez Borland) of Cuban-American Literature and Art: Negotiating Identities, also published by SUNY Press. Mark Denaci is Associate Professor of Art History at St. Lawrence University.


Table of Contents


Scott Propeack
Introduction Life Streams: The Cuban and American Art of Alberto Rey
Lynette M. F. Bosch
1. Alberto Rey: Intersections
Lynette M. F. Bosch

2. The Construction of Identity in Art: Alberto Rey’s Journey

Jorge J. E. Gracia
3. Alberto Rey’s Balsa Series in the Cuban American Imagination
Isabel Alvarez Borland
4. Absent Presences and the Living Dead: Alberto Rey’s Haunted Aesthetics
Mark Denaci
5. Trout as Form and Symbol
Lynette M. F. Bosch

6. Reading the Waters: Early Works of Influence on the Literature of Fly-Fishing

John Orlock
7. Biological Regionalism: Scajaquada Creek. Erie County, New York, USA—Artist’s Statement
Alberto Rey
8. Time Submersion: A Portrait of Two Creeks
Sandra Firmin
9. Alberto Rey: Beneath the Surface
Benjamin M. Hickey
10. Conclusion: Bioregionalism and Animal Studies
Lynette M. F. Bosch and Mark Denaci
Biographical Timeline
Locations Investigated by Alberto Rey
Curriculum Vitae


Work published in recent Drake Magazine and Gray’s Sporting Journal

I just heard that a recent painting was published in the this month’s  issue of Gray’s Sporting Journal (see above) and a couple of weeks ago I learned that an essay I wrote about my Aesthetics of Death Series and a couple of paintings would be published in the March issue of the Drake magazine. The Drake’s website will also be showing more of the paintings from the series.

Artwork in Gray’s Sporting Journal – March/April 2012


Here’s a two-page spread of a painting titled Biological Regionalism: Brook Trout III, Catskills, United States which appears in next month’s Gray’s Sporting Journal.  The painting was created for a solo exhibition at the Chace-Randall Gallery in Andes, New York. This wonderful little gallery has been representing my work for the past few years and has been exhibiting my paintings devoted to the trout and char species found in the Catskill streams. Check out their site for other examples of work from recent exhibitions.

Two exhibitions at Robert Wesleyan College, Rochester, NY

I will be participating in two exhibitions at Robert Wesleyan College between January and April in 2012. This is a rare opportunity to display a large representation of past works while also displaying new site-specific work in two galleries on one campus.

Cuban Portraits Series: Antonio, Miami, Florida
Oils on plaster

1. The first presentation, “Reflections on Culture and Memories Lost”, is a solo exhibition of 26 small paintings from the past 20 years. Several of these works have never been exhibited. This exhibition runs from January 23 through to March 23, 2012 at Northeastern Seminary on the campus of Roberts Wesleyan College on 2265 Westside Drive in Rochester, NY. Contact info: 800.777.4RWC or 585.594.6802

Las Balsas (The Rafts) : I
Oils on plaster

2. The second exhibition will be presented between March 5 through to April 6 where I will be presenting 6 paintings in a two-person exhibition, “Realms and Origins”, at the Davison Gallery also on the campus at Robert Wesleyan College. The opening reception will occur on Monday March 12, 2012 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. with an artists’ talk at 5:30pm. This will be a good opportunity to also see the other exhibition at the Northeastern Seminary which is located in the building next to the gallery. The Davison Gallery is located on lower atrium of the Cultural Life Center on 2301 Westside Drive. For directions click here.

Biological Regionalism: Brown Trout, Four Mile Creek, Rochester, New York
Oils on Plaster

Biological Regionalism: Four Mile Creek, Rochester, New York
Oils on Plaster

In this exhibition, I will be presenting two new site-specific works from the Biological Regionalism Series as well as four other paintings from Virginia and Alaska. These works represent the specific locations and fish species found in western New York as well the east and west coasts of the United States. The male brown trout was documented in Four Mile Creek in the outskirts of Rochester. It had migrated up from Lake Erie to spawn in the small stream located next to the remains of an old gristmill/saw mill from 1806.

Biological Regionalism:Brook Trout, Big Mary’s Creek, Vesuvius, Virginia
Oils on Plaster

Biological Regionalism: Big Mary’s Creek, Vesuvius, Virginia
Oils on Plaster

Two other paintings document the threatened native brook trout population found in a small, secluded stream called Big Mary’s Creek near Vesuvius, Virginia.

Biological Regionalism:Dolly Varden, Aniak River Tributary, Aniak, Alaska
Oils on Plaster

The last pairing of paintings documents a spawning dolly varden that was documented in the Aniak River after migrating upstream from the Pacific Ocean.

Biological Regionalism:Aniak River Tributary, Aniak, Alaska
Oils on Plaster

Davison Gallery contact:
Scot Bennett,
Director, Davison Gallery
Curator, BT Roberts Memorial Hall Gallery

Biological Regionalism: Selected Streams from Northern Chautauqua County, New York

The following paintings were created for the exhibition at the Octagon Gallery at the Patterson Library in Westfield from March 2-30, 2012. The reception will occur from 7-9pm on Friday, March 2 and a lecture about the work in the exhibition will be presented on Thursday, March 15th at 7pm.

In past blog entries, I have include some process shots of the development some of these paintings. I will include links to these blog entries underneath each of the images of the artwork.

Biological Regionalism:
Chautauqua Falls, Westfield, New York
Oils on Plaster
33″ x 48″
Link to more information / blog entry

Biological Regionalism: Selected Streams from Northern Chautauqua County, New York
When I first settled in this area in 1989, I remember hearing stories about the salmon runs in Canadaway Creek. It was all very intriguing but I had a new job that I needed to secure and it was six years later before I began researching the migrating fish species in the local tributaries of Lake Erie. When I did begin the research, I concentrated my efforts on the history of Canadaway Creek, the introduction of fish species into the Great Lakes, the history of towns located along the creek, regional geology, entomology, weather patterns affects on local fish’s physiology, fish biology and hydrology. Before long, I couldn’t get enough information and soon I began to befriended local biologists, Department of Environmental Conservation officers and local anglers as a way to build my resources. A couple of years later, my obsession led me to start a youth fly fishing program and, soon afterward, I became a fly fishing guide as a way to fund my obsession and to keep me out on the streams.

Biological Regionalism:
Laona Falls, Laona, New York
Oils on Plaster
33″ x 48″
Link to more information / blog entry

In 2000, after finishing a series of paintings on Cuban and American culture, I was ready to move into a new direction and I began the Biological Regionalism Series. The series incorporated the research I had been acquiring over the previous years and motivated me to investigate and research many other streams in western New York and the Catskills as well as bodies of water in Massachusetts, Florida, Alaska, Montana, New Mexico, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Arizona, California, Virginia, Pennsylvania and also Wales, England, Iceland and Cuba. As my travel and exhibitions opportunities drew me further and further away from my local waters, I found little time to document the specific regional locations where I had logged hundreds of hours studying the stream’s hydraulics, observing the different holding patterns of fish through the year, guiding clients and trying my own fly patterns on migrating fish.

Biological Regionalism:
Risley Falls, Fredonia, New York
Oils on Plaster
33″ x 48″
Link to more information / blog entry

This exhibition provided me the opportunity to exhibit the work in Patterson Library’s wonderful architecture and collection of paintings and taxidermy specimens. It seemed like a perfect venue to exhibit these devotional paintings of some of my favorite stream locations in this area.

Biological Regionalism:
Arkwright Falls, Arkwright, New York
Oils on Plaster
33″ x 48″

More information about the Biological Regionalism Series:                                                              
Apart of the research mentioned above, my investigations also included the painters of the Hudson River School of the 19th century and their role in American society. This art movement documented the expanding American landscape and its wilderness for the general public who had little exposure or accessibility to their new environment. The study of biology, botany, geology and art was popular amongst the residents of the new country and piscatorial art and nature painting was considered a form of “high art” during this period. This art form no longer seems innovative in contemporary art although there is a dire need to rediscover the connection between nature and culture. This connection is deteriorating as most of our social and economic reliance has moved to an urban setting.

Biological Regionalism:
Mouth of Corell Creek, Portland, New York
Oils on Plaster
33″ x 48″

As our culture becomes more homogenized by mass media and consumerism, the one element that remains true to a region is its natural environment. Although we try to manipulate it to fit our needs, most landscapes and their biological inhabitants characterize a region’s nature. It is an omnipresent influence that affects a region’s people, culture and economy. The knowledge of a region’s distinguishing natural elements is being lost as generations continually become more disconnected from a lifestyle that relies on the landscape for survival and for spiritual renewal.

Biological Regionalism:
Glen Mills Falls (Old Portage Road Falls), Westfield, New York
Oils on Plaster
33″ x 48″

The regions investigated in this series are usually a short walk or drive from the exhibition venue. When a viewer experiences the installation, my hope is that they begin to create or recreate a connection to their immediate environment. In past installations of Biological Regionalism Series, I tried to reestablish this connection by reintroducing the fish and landscape that characterize a specific region. For this exhibition, I have concentrated entirely on landscapes or the depiction of the environment as a way to have the area’s resident reconnect with memories from these locations and/or to create new connections to nearby environments. I hope the exhibition can also create opportunities to discuss topics related to historical and contemporary theories of aesthetics, migration of fish species, history of these locations, environmentalism, and geological formations.

While the regions investigated are specific, the issues raised are universal.



New work from studio: Chautauqua County Streams, New York – Part IV

Here are a few process shots of the last painting that I will exhibiting on March 2-30, 2012 at the Octagon Gallery in the Patterson Library in Westfield, New York.

This is a painting of Risley Falls on Canadaway Creek which flows right below our home.

I have spent countless hours studying the water flow of every part of this rock formation and have very fond memories of standing in its water with close friends fishing for steelhead and with my son as he worked small dry flies for fingerlings in the summer. I rarely fish this section of the stream anymore. I not sure why. Perhaps I enjoy walking the stream more now… perhaps I enjoy swinging streamers more the last few years….perhaps I’m drawn to different sections of the stream every year…and perhaps it will always be reserved as a place to be fished with others who make it more special.

There remains something comforting about fishing a stream that you know very well. It’s like being with a dear friend who has been with you from the beginning. Nothing is ever said but the experience of being in their company is always rewarding.

The images for the painting were taken in the early fall of 2011.

Artwork in Gray’s Sporting Journal – Nov/Dec 2011

A few days ago, I got a nice surprise in the mail. I opened the recent issue of Gray’s Sporting Journal and saw one of my paintings on page 49. It’s always a pleasure working with Wayne Knight, the magazine’s art director, and I’ve been fortunate to have been included in around ten issues over the past decade. The writing is always great so it’s an honor having the work associated with the articles and printed in such a beautifully crafted publication.

The painting was created a few years ago in the spring after I went down to the stream below my house. I took some underwater pictures of a few steelhead below the falls. There was a beautiful stillness under the current. The painting is now hanging in the studio. It will be nice to have this reproduction sitting next to it. Who knows… it might be of interest to a few collectors.

New work from studio: Chautauqua County Streams, New York – Part III

Here is the fifth out of six paintings that I am planning to exhibit on March 2-30, 2012 at the Octagon Gallery in the Patterson Library in Westfield, New York.

This is the painting of Laona Falls located in the village of Laona, New York on Canadaway Creek. This is as far upstream as migrating steelhead from Lake Erie can reach although there are rumors that in very high waters they can move above these falls. Laona and its falls inspired Spiritualist  groups since the mid-19th century and the American composer Alan Hovhaness who composed two works inspired by the hamlet: Laona (for piano) and Dawn at Laona, Op. 153 (cantata for low voice and piano).

The images for the painting were taken in August 2011 during a family trip to the falls to retreat from the day’s heat. We munched on wild blackberries on the path back to the car.

New work from studio: Chautauqua County Streams, New York – Part II

Here is the fourth out of six paintings that I am planning to exhibit on March 2-30, 2012 at the Octagon Gallery in the Patterson Library in Westfield, New York.

This is the painting of Chautauqua Creek Falls located off of Sherman Road in Westfield, New York. The falls are located upstream from town in the stream’s Catch and Release Section.

The images for the painting were taken in August 2011 during a family trip to the falls to retreat from the day’s heat. We munched on wild blackberries on the path back to the car.