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Two artists use color and a contemporary approach to dazzle collectors

June 22, 2010


By Kelle Profita

Two fresh artists are gaining recognition for their innovative, contemporary pieces, noted use of color and a commitment to blending traditional techniques with modern vision and inspiration. Photographer Xavier Nuez and painter Alisa Margolis use different mediums to express their art, but both achieve eye-catching results collectors of modern art will welcome.

Xavier Nuez

Xavier Nuez, born in Montreal and now living in Chicago, finds a cosmopolitan view in the overlooked alleys and seemingly insignificant urban grittiness. His popular Glam Bugs brings a sense of beauty and glamor to subject matter to which it is traditionally not associated. “Nuez’s keen eye and succulent colours infuse his insects with a fragile shimmering beauty that deflects much of the horror” of the photographs, notes Hour Magazine.

Nuez’s most popular series, the gritty Alleys explores the tragedy of urban development and attempts to capture the splendor of the long forgotten. Nuez explains his shooting process for the Alley Series: “At night I'll go out with my equipment and walk down beat up alleys, or around abandoned buildings, bringing with me lighting equipment. These images are a combination of long exposures, sometimes over one hour, and my own lights.” To explain the seeming dichotomy between his most popular series, Nuez opines, 'My bug series is entirely different, although the work is related conceptually. In both bodies of work, I try to elevate the bottom of the barrel (space or creatures) to monumental status — a sort of repositioning of their social status. I try to glorify the most pathetic and lowly bugs. It is a very theatrical series—I build little sets, light them with strobes, and find the right bug for the part, trying to create heroic and iconic figures. All my bugs have a name and history. There are war heroes, movie stars, powerful villains, tragic figures.”

Unlike many contemporary photographers, Nuez prefers to shoot on film using half-century old Hasselblad cameras, which gives his work a unique feeling of blending both the modern and vintage. Nuez has been featured in solo and group exhibitions throughout North America, including the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art (in Calif.) and the Kennedy Center in Washington, oc. His work is also in the private collections of several actors and major corporations. His works range from small reprints ($25-50) to original large prints $700 and up) and are available at

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