Coming to light: 'SURFACE'

Thomas Bowers, Conjoined Headed Statue (2021), water soluble, incising on paper

Albuquerque native Thomas Bowers began making art at 16, copying the designs from a book of tattoos. Art offered Bowers an escape from a life of drugs and violence. Today, he creates figurative works that combine linear elements and amorphous shapes inspired by his interest in outsider art, children’s art, and expressionism. Daisy Trudell-Mills, who hails from the mountainous region of New Mexico’s Mora Valley, explores the child archetype in a variety of media through surreal conflations of animal, human, and floral subject matter. And H. E. Ramage creates figurative imagery inspired by moments of personal trauma, such as loss, in her own life and those close to her.

These artists join seven others for the Harwood Art Center’s (1114 7th St. NW, Albuquerque, 505-242-6367, annual exhibition SURFACE: Emerging Artists of New Mexico. More than a juried show, SURFACE is a professional development opportunity for rising artists in New Mexico, one that’s specifically intended to help expand their visibility. Participants are offered a daylong professional development workshop led by professional artists, gallerists, public relations and communications specialists, and local media that focuses on developing a web presence and cultivating their collector and audience base.

Open to artists who work in any media (including drawing, painting, printmaking, jewelry making, fashion, design, architecture, and digital media), SURFACE applicants are encouraged to submit new or experimental works. The artists are eligible to win endowed cash awards and $250 microgrants made possible by the City of Albuquerque’s Urban Enhancement Trust Fund. One artist is also selected annually for a solo exhibition at the Harwood.

On view by appointment through July 29, the exhibition features works by Jordan Caldwell, Lauren Dana Smith, and others. The show is also available online at

Concurrent with SURFACE is Nate Lemuel’s exhibition, Beyond the Future. Lemuel, who won the Solo Exhibition Award in 2020, is a queer Indigenous artist who works in the medium of digital photography and film. His work was featured recently on HBO’s six-part, unscripted series We’re Here, which follows small-town residents as they’re recruited and trained for a one-night-only drag performance.

To schedule an appointment to view the exhibitions in person, visit

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