As a teenager growing up in Brooklyn, Rey Milici aspired to make art his career. Upon viewing his early drawings, his grandfather, a freelance illustrator, strongly encouraged him to attend art school. “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 ultimately settled in Northampton in the late 1970’s. At the time, Western Massachusetts was gaining notoriety while the the Valley Realists were garnering national acclaim. Rey quickly made a name for himself as one of the foremost realist painters in the area.
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