Biological Regionalism

Alberto Rey: Biological Regionalism, an exhibition that examines the fragile beauty of area waterways, opens in Jamestown Community College’s Weeks Gallery on Aug. 25.

A reception and artist’s talk by Rey, a distinguished professor of art at the State University at Fredonia, will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Sept. 12. The exhibition is on display until Oct. 3.

Patricia Briggs, Weeks Gallery director, will lead an informal conversation about the exhibition during a brown bag lunch at noon on Sept. 10. Participants are asked to bring their own lunch; dessert and coffee will be served.

A realist painter and expert angler, Rey sees the world through a naturalist’s eyes. Rey’s “biological regionalism” focuses on the waterways of western and upstate New York. As Dr. Briggs notes in her “Scene Unseen” art blog, Rey’s installation “cuts through the veil of artistic wishful thinking that so often comes between the environment and its depiction as landscape.”

Presented at the Burchfield Penney Art Center last spring, the exhibition features views of Buffalo’s hidden Scajaquada Creek, which flows through concrete culverts under highway overpasses. Alongside the paintings, Rey shows water samples he has taken from the creek which indicate high levels of pollutants.

As a counterpoint to the installations about the Scajaquada, the conservation-minded Rey includes highly detailed renderings of brown river trout and beautiful views of pristine rivers in the Catskills and Chautauqua County as a reminder of all that is lost when waterways become neglected.

For the Weeks Gallery installation, Rey has drawn a map of Jamestown’s Chadakoin River. Over the course of the exhibition, JCC and Frewsburg Central School students will contribute water sample testing data to it.

The Weeks Gallery will also feature special public presentations by naturalists that underscore the unique nature of the Chadakoin and its importance to the area habitat.

Twan Leenders, president of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History, will lead a nature walk from 5-6 p.m. on Sept. 15, introducing participants to the spiny softshell turtle population that inhabits the Chadakoin River and hatches in late summer. The walk begins in the parking lot of the Gateway Center, 31 Water St., Jamestown.

Leenders and John Jablonski, executive director of the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, will discuss “The State of Jamestown’s Waterways and Their Surrounding Habitats” from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Sept. 24 in the Weeks Reception Hall.

Rey joined the SUNY Fredonia faculty in 1989 and has received several awards for distinguished scholarship and creative activity. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree at SUNY at Buffalo. Details on Rey’s work can be viewed at www.albertorey.com/bio/.

The Weeks Gallery is located on the second floor of the Arts and Sciences Center. Gallery hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Thursday, and 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Friday.