Rey Milici decided to become a painter as a teenager in Brooklyn. His grandfather, a freelance illustrator, encouraged him to go to art school after viewing some of his early drawings. “He told me that I had the talent to be an artist… He gave me the confidence to carry on. I’ve never wanted to be anything else.”
After graduating from Hartford Arts School, he did a tour of duty in the Army and settled in Northampton in the late 1970s. His arrival in Northampton coincided with the early beginnings of the Northampton Realist School of Art, which traces its origins to an unusual gathering of like-minded artists with a unique vision. The Northampton Realists offer a vision of unparalleled clarity and definition in which everyday objects take on mythic proportions, Rey Milici has become a permanent figure in this nationally known movement.
Rey paints outdoor subjects, but not your typical landscapes. He is drawn to the infinite variety of the real world. Rey’s pieces range from backyard scenes to seascapes, and are characterized by sharp clarity of form and rich color. He is concerned with recording a place frozen in time, and seeks out places where the play of light and shadow captures the essence of the scene.
“I have always been drawn to the New England farm house with its long standing history. They are both romantic and majestic while at the same time ruggedly real. Surrounding these monoliths with our Fall colors seems more than right, allowing me to be both real and abstract at the same time.
As a counter to the New England landscape with its riotous Fall colors, the sea shore has another type of appeal for me. Wellfleet at low tide has been a draw with boats resting, people clamming, and tire tracks in the sand. With a limited palette, I’m able to portray both calm and movement at the same time.
In both the landscape and the seascape I’m able to find at the same time, both the real and the abstract. I’ve always been drawn to the opposition of things, the yin yang of life.” – Rey Milici