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.