Exhibition Runs: June 14 – July 29, 2021
Virtual Reception & Artist Talks: Thursday, July 8 @ 5:30pm

Opening Reception & Artist Talks

The Opening Reception is one of the prized components of an exhibition for our artists – as well as for our whole Harwood community who gets to come meet, speak, and celebrate. We held a virtual reception to honor the artists.

Building off of our platforms and recent online gatherings, we held a public reception and “lightning” artist talks featuring this year’s group of SURFACE: Emerging Artists of NM artists and Nate Lemuel (our 2020 solo exhibition award winner). Far-reaching friends and family joined us in these online spaces, along with local community. To view the recording of the talks please visit the link below.

By Appointment Hours

This exhibition will be installed in our gallery and will be accessible to the public by appointment only for up to 2 people at a time. All visitors must wear a face mask, complete a health screening, practice social distancing, and comply with all safety guidelines set forth by the CDC.

Appointments are available for every monday of the exhibition from 10am – 2pm. Make an appointment with the link below!

Nate Lemuel received the SURFACE 2020 Harwood Art Center Solo Exhibition Award, presented annually for artistic excellence, originality of vision and dedication to practice.


Beyond the Future


There comes a moment of appreciation for what one loves to do as they struggle, but continue to make it happen no matter how much it means to them. The joy that envelopes, the realness that conveys honesty, the unity of hopefulness, the passion for stepping out in confidence, the struggle with identity, and the continuance of stories that need to be told more, visually continue to happen as we live our lives through we pass.

About Nate

Nate Lemuel is a Queer Diné Indigenous Artist who creates visuals through digital photography and film. From Shiprock, New Mexico, Lemuel’s work consists of a variety of photography styles from stop-action, editorial, and futuristic minimalism. This year, his photography reached many publications from working with local indigenous artists, major magazine companies, and fashion brands. He was also featured on HBO’s show, “We’re Here” which he was featured and performed alongside Bob the Drag Queen in a one-night-only drag performance nearby his local hometown. His reputation started from freelancing on his reservation at music shows, to then local fashion shows, and also worked nights as a janitor to support his love for his creativity. His Professional Achievements include Surface Emerging Artist of 2020 awarded by Harwood Art Center, The 2020 Naat’áanii Honeree of Navajo Nation’s Dine’ Pride, and is currently in a mentorship by Creative Futures Collective.


Artist Statement

When I photograph, I want to build an environment that is real and portrays a reference to the future. What I find fascinating about my photography is that I can be limitless with my surroundings because I grew up here on the Navajo Nation.I have always imagined things from afar to be a signal of memory. How I balance the space from town to town here is based on the landscapes that are around me. I get a sense of calmness and worry-free feeling when I don’t need to be informed of how long it will take or how far it will be until I see what is ahead of me. I take that form of thought and use it every day as an inspiration to my life. There are no limits to time, and space when I photograph.

Exhibition Catalog


About Surface

SURFACE: Emerging Artists of New Mexico is dedicated to cultivating the creative and professional growth of artistic talents and to expanding their visibility and viability in our community. Each year Harwood Art Center invites emerging artists from around New Mexico to submit works for consideration in SURFACE. SURFACE artists are eligible for a solo gallery exhibition award and all receive a special honorarium for their participation.

SURFACE enjoys a six-week exhibition in Harwood Art Center’s Hall Gallery throughout June and July. SURFACE artists also participate in a private day-long professional development workshop. Workshop sessions are led by professional artists, gallerists, public relations / communications specialists and local media, and focus on refining artist statements / written materials, developing a web and communications presence, audience and collector cultivation, as well as a group walkthrough and critique of the exhibition.

Digital Program Adaptations

As we cannot host as many people at a time in our public physical galleries, we’ve put together an online exhibition and comprehensive digital catalog for the exhibition.

Surface Professional Development Workshop & Alumni Circle Reception

We have an amazing network of program alumni and panelists who have served in the workshop in years past, and we will work with them to adapt content and dialogue with the recognition that there are not yet experts and best practices for this current landscape, that we are treating SURFACE as a collaborative laboratory to experiment and explore them, and that we can all benefit from a circle of support and camaraderie.

Surface Awards

Artists juried into the exhibition are eligible to win endowed cash awards. We will also distribute aditional microgrants ($250) to each participating artists with help fro the City of Albuquerque’s Urban Enhancement Trust Fund. These microgrants will support each participant in acquisition of new tools, trainings, or subscriptions that could facilitate visibility and viability in this era of distance.