In 1980 Rex was forced to leave New York, having failed to promote himself and unreconciled to the increasingly aggressively trend driven art market. He had become increasingly alienated from the changes that had been taking place ever since he had arrived in 1957.
During the last few years he lived there he drank heavily, ate poorly and seldom exercised. He got assistance from welfare and his one time friend Charles Fitzgerald had bought his building and begun eviction proceedings against him. There were episodes of extreme harrassment in attempts to drive him out, once violently attacking his door with an axe.
Eventually demoralized and defeated he accepted an offer to pay him to leave. He took the money, put his lifes work in storage and flew to Spokane, Washington to stay with his mother indefinitely.
His mother, nearing eighty was in a world that was as remote from the New York world Rex had occupied for the last two plus decades, but he made the best of it. In time he would have some small shows of work he was doing in the bedroom he occupied, of paintings on paper and small prestretched canvasses.
The extreme provincialism of Spokane constantly grated on his feelings and desires and if he felt isolated and rejected in his studio in New York, then this was just a different flavor of the same meal he was always being served.
Finally by 1984 his new grandson Nathaniel was born requiring heart surgery and he decided to move back to San Francisco to be near his son and his grandchildren