Scrawled across the southeast curve of the gallery at the Burchfield Penney Art Center is an enormous illustration of Scajaquada Creek, visible above the half walls in the room. The map shows the past and present versions of the creek, as well as dumping sites, and is the cornerstone of Alberto Rey’s impressive and illuminating “Biological Realism” installation.
Part science and history lesson, the installation comprises paintings, videos, government records, sketches and water samples, as well as data provided by Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper. The result is an intimate view of a thoroughly despoiled waterway.
Inspired by the idyllic landscapes of the Hudson River School, Rey began the “Biological Realism” series in 2000, creating location-specific pieces that dive deep into a local waterway and its fish. He packs three years of research and work into this installation in an attempt to remake a lost connection between the community and the wilderness it inhabits.