Renée Rey b. 1956, Sagamihara, Japan
Rey's artwork is a fusion of contemporary expressionism and surrealism that explores 21st century narratives of equality, diversity, and identity through cultural and environmental sustainability. While continuing to examine these constructs, Rey encourages the viewer to visually explore when parity exists, and the repercussions if ignored in a world in which change is occurring at light speed.
Grounded in a multi-cultural Jewish/Christian/French/Armenian background, and birth place in Japan, Rey makes artwork relevant for today by intersecting social, cultural and environmental issues with themes of nostalgia, memory, history, tradition, religion, and science. The images she creates take form from the landscapes, architecture and language of countryside and city with which she is connected. Her painted altered states of reality inform us about the constant change in and tenuous nature of the world. Historically, Rey has explored the human condition and political and social issues including homelessness, peace process in Israel, women's empowerment, and the environment. Her current work harkens back to her previous work as she appropriates images and ideas in a new way, enforcing the concept of memory.
In her studio practice Rey challenges traditional expressions of landscape, cityscape, and the written word creating innovative and spiritually charged visual iconography. She emphasizes the hand-made through gestural mark-making, tactile paint, and abstracted imagery. Playing with scale, perspective, depth, and perception, her imagery recedes and advances blurring reality and fantasy. In the process, Rey examines identity of style, media, and message and their interdependence. Rey creates a world in which viewers can connect and see themselves as a participant.
It was an unusual mingling of love for nature and cultural traditions, 50's interior design, 60's psychedelic graphics, traditional Japanese art, and a French fashion designer mother that influenced her early artistic talents growing up in upstate New York. An interior design student at Parsons School of Design in New York City in the early 1980's launched her creative career. Having lived and studies in Jerusalem, Israel for one year, visiting two other times, and experiencing Morocco for almost a month during Ramadan, gave her rich and colorful experiences and visual vocabulary of people, landscape, and architecture that has continued to inspire her artwork. Raised and educated in Albany and New York, New York, Rey has been influenced by New York painters Larry Rivers and Mark Rothko, British artists Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon, and Frank Auerbach, Surrealist Salvador Dali, and traditional Eastern and Asian Art. Deeply moved by Lucian Freud paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on opening day, December 1993, Rey began pushing the properties of oil paint in her own work to evoke mood, question norms, and communicate message.
Rey was awarded Best in Show in Art Encounters National Competition 2017, a national juried exhibit, Frederick O. Watson Gallery, von Liebig Art Center, Naples, FL, March 2017, by Jurors Jade Dellinger, Director, Bob Rauschenberg Gallery, Fort Myers, FL, Alejo Benedetti, Curatorial Assistant, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR, and Mallory O’Connor, Professor of Art History, Emerita, Santa Fe College, Gainesville, FL. Zoe Larkins, Associate Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, CO selected one of her paintings for a national juried exhibit in Fort Collins, CO in May 2017. Her artwork was included in Florida Contemporary 2015 Exhibition, Baker Museum, Artis-Naples, Naples, FL, selected by Gisela Carbonell, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Curator of Special Collections, Artis-Naples, Baker Museum, Naples, FL. The Artist has also been included in exhibits by Erin Wright, Curator at Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA, Rebecca Wilson, Chief Curator and VP, Art Advisory, Saatchi Art, and Susan Welsh, Executive Director, Macon Museum of Arts and Sciences, Macon, GA. During the month of August, 2016, she was invited to attend Sun Peak Center for Art and Sustainability, Colorado Springs, CO, overlooking the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. Her work has been exhibited nationally, and is in private collections internationally.
Rey has studied fine art, design, experimental sound design, and performance on the undergraduate level and digital art and film and video on the graduate level. She holds undergraduate degrees in Interior Design from Parsons School of Design, New York, NY, and Jewish Studies, University at Albany, Albany, NY, a Masters in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary, New York, NY, and an MBA in Business Management, Concentration in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY.