They are dark, dangerous places where you are warned not to go. But for Chicago photographer Xavier Nuez, bleak urban settings are his inspiration and second home. For many years, late at night he has ventured into some of the country’s most threatening corners, frequently leading to trouble. Whether it is an eerie alley in Compton, California, an inner-city ruin in Detroit, or a dead-end back-lot in Chicago, he wants to create monuments out of these shunned places.
A selection of Nuez’s photographs will be featured at the Schneider Gallery, located at 230 W Superior St, in Chicago, IL, that runs from March 2 to April 28, 2012. The opening reception is Friday, March 2 from 5 to 7:30 pm. The show will feature six 32×40 Ultrachrome prints.
Nuez’s first solo museum show opens March 17th, 2012 and runs to May 6th, at the Bolinas Museum in Bolinas, CA. The New York Times has called the Alleys & Ruins series a “masterpiece”
“I’ve been chased by violent street gangs, accosted by crazed addicts and drug dealers, and have been held at gun point. If the police see me lurking in a dark alley, often I am questioned and searched. And yet under these trying conditions, and within the filth and stench of the city’s gutters, I find inspiration. With a family history of homelessness and with a belief that I was next, I found the need to dignify what has been rejected.”
Nuez shoots his photographs with 50-year-old Hasselblad film cameras. To capture the vivid colors in his images, he brings battery-powered lighting equipment and colored gels that are combined with long exposures – sometimes more than one-hour.
Xavier Nuez’s photographs have been featured in solo and group exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout North America, including the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art in California; the Attleboro Art Museum in Massachusetts; the Masur Museum of Art in Louisiana; the Museum of the Living Artist at the San Diego Art Institute; the Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts; and the Farmington Museum in New Mexico. His work is in numerous public, corporate and private collections, including those of the University of Richmond Museum in Virginia; the University of Michigan; the Norfolk Southern Collection; the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo, Ohio; and the Vicente Fox Center of Studies, Library and Museum in Guanajuato, Mexico.