Alex Nunez paints sumptuous tropical dystopian landscapes in constant flux. Poured and scrawled, dripped and drizzled, her paintings are defiantly glamorous and gritty, infused with toxic beauty– reminiscent of a Miami Beach nightclub floor. But look closer, and a vast ecosystem emerges, where mutant mangroves and alien coral cling to a noxious planet in a triumph of resilience.
Working in her Liberty City studio, Nuñez builds up her canvases on the floor. Layering acrylic, pastel, glitter, crystals, and flaky gold leaf, she creates nebulous glimmering canvases–some as small as four by four inches, others measuring 16 feet long.
She finds her inspiration for these mesmerizing scenarios in the fauna and flora of tropical locales on the front lines of climate change–her father’s homeland of Cuba, her mother’s birthplace of New Orleans, and the artist’s native city of Miami. Phosphorescent iguana tails thrash dripping puddles of undulating ooze. Vampiric palm trees choke Day-Glo sea urchins to grab a ray of sun. Neon tsunamis provoke an undersea battle of mutant predators with supernatural powers.
Rendered in Nunez’s characteristic radioactive palette, the kaleidoscopic canvases offer a time-lapse chronicle of planetary collapse over the passage of eons. Amidst the devastation, a hopeful message emerges the ability of earthly creatures to evolve and survive. These glorious, venomous hybrids have adapted to the post-nuclear present.
The looming future seeps into her works via their deadpan titles, with their code-switching references to Instagram memes, traditional Cuban sayings, and quotes from favorite films.
Born and raised in Miami, Nuñez is a Cuban-American mixed media painter. She received her MFA from Hunter College, City University of New York, and was awarded the C12 Emerging Artist Fellowship. Solo shows include Marianne Boesky, New York and Club Gallery, Miami. Her works have been exhibited in El Museo del Barrio, New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami. She is an artist in residence at Collective 62 and Fountainhead Studios.
Nuñez is the host and producer of the “Sunday Painter” podcast on Jolt Radio, now in its sixth year of production, and a recipient of The Warhol Foundation’s Wavemaker Grant. She has been reviewed and published in The New York Times, Artforum, CNN, Art Nexus, Hyperallergic, Huffington Post, W Magazine, and the Observer.