Positioning himself squarely inside the popular genre of contemporary ruins photography, Xavier Nuez rockets beyond the familiar conceit of redeeming derelict spaces and trash, and embraces them in an orgy of riotous glitz. Shooting at night in color in garishly illuminated spaces, Nuez’s images are phantasmagoria of graffiti-covered abandoned surfaces cheek to jowl with sparkling and scintillating skylines bathed in ink-blue darkness. Ruins photography tends to be meditative and to reveal beauty in decay that defies design; by introducing a play between decay and hyper-sleek urbanity, and stepping up illumination to a neon level, Nuez gets the eye excited and the mind energized. Juxtaposition invigorates. If you need to relax, look at the opposite gallery wall and fall into Valerie Oliveiro’s color nighttime takes of stubble-filled patches of land—lots and fields—that can make you feel so lonely, something that Nuez would never allow. (Michael Weinstein)
Through April 28 at Schneider Gallery, 230 West Superior
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