“It is crucial to inform on the importance of our region in America's cultural and natural heritage and the challenges that the Niagara River faces.” –Alberto Rey
Alberto Rey—Biological Regionalism: Niagara River, Western New York explores the complexities of the Niagara River’s past and present. Utilizing lushly illustrated narratives, Rey capitalizes on his unique visual language to speak to the cultural importance of the Niagara in American popular culture and how that has changed over time. These large-scale paintings reflect on the river’s historical significance to the Underground Railroad, importance to Native American culture, and the pollution of the river and the communities along its banks.
Rey’s Biological Regionalism is representative of his 40-year artistic journey documenting human relationships to natural waterways and how these relationships have a direct effect on the flora and fauna of regions across the globe. Building on past, present, and future, this work is guided through what he has termed, “a devotional painting approach.”
For this large-scale installation in the CAM’s Main Gallery, Rey turns his attention to the Niagara River and the unique attributes of the Niagara Gorge. Each bespoke painting explores facets of the Niagara River’s rich history and challenges it faces, past and present.
This exhibition follows the trajectory of projects including Critical Endangered Palms of Cuba (2021-22), a project that explored the endangered native palm species of Cuba; Biological Regionalism: Oswego River and Lake Ontario (2019-2022), which examined the history of the Oswego River, its challenges, and the prospects for improvement in the future; and The Lost Beauty: Iceberg Series (2021), an investigation into the disappearing glacial patterns around the Icelandic region.
This exhibition is made possible through the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.