Exhibition Runs: March 7-April 13



Community Celebration + Open Studios: Saturday, April 13 from 4:30p – 7:30p

Gallery Hours:

Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays: 10a – 3p

Artist Talk with Harley Kirschner:

Thursday, March 14: 5:30p – 7p

Ithacan Mythologies/ Whose Home?

by Harley Kirschner


This long culmination of work began in my final semester of UNM in spring 2022, with my newly found love affair with the digital process of laser etching analog pen drawings on mirrors (from the back) under the guidance and instruction of professor, Welly Fletcher. At that time, the combination of simultaneously exploring these processes, the work was deeply personal, dredging up long repressed feelings and memories, as well as giving place to the styles and themes of my work (Greek mythologies, Art Nouveau and Art Deco) that I had previously viewed as just aesthetic. At that time I knew this work was about my own relationship to home and my feelings of home as an unsafe place, a place I knew I needed to flee from in early transition in 2004, when I relocated to Albuquerque, NM. I knew it was about the stories that kept me alive, often flora and fauna.
Since graduating, I have become increasingly aware of the broken model of the colonial construct of home as a commodity which continues to evict and destroy all living things via war, disease, pollution, poverty and inflation (systemic forms of violence), and destroyed habitats (including tent cities and parks, deforestation, wastelanding, etc…). All of these violent acts are crimes against life itself, home hirself.


I am a multimedia artist who creates portals to other dimensions, often with the goal of repairing my inner child or connecting with a specific community. My depictions began as highly embellished memorials of stolen trans people as a way of reclaiming their lives on this plane. My art has since grown to wearable metalworks, installations, and furniture.
In 2022, I discovered my psychological roots in Greek mythology. Once-forgotten memories emerged of growing up in Ithaca, NY, a town named after the ancient Greek city. My own rebirth from navigating newly surfacing symptoms of C-PTSD brought me an affinity with Persephone and the continual cycle of life and death. My mirrored pieces, laser etched with hand-drawn images, reflect this well-guarded past.

My mirrors, often gilded with foil leaf, capture the Art Deco and Art Nouveau styles of my hometown. Laser etching glass creates “ghosts” that project when light filters through them. These projections remove the objectivity of my work, allowing all who witness my shadows to possess them momentarily, while simultaneously proving that no one permanently can. I have furthered my practice of oil painting on glass using pigments, which creates a sense of time lapse to antiquity. My pieces create places of beauty and connection, reminiscent of the magical realms that offered safety in childhood..

My pigments were purchased at the estate sale of a late transcendental writer and artist. Sourcing painting supports at the estate sales I work allows me weeks to connect with their previous owners. This evolution of my work has increased my relationship with my queer ancestors, particularly a great uncle who was disowned from my then Southern Christian conservative family for being gay. He, too, was an artist, antique collector, and gardener. Like me, he grew up poor and often struggled with having a stable income, yet was able to surround himself with the finest things through being an estate caretaker.

My work has stepped away from depicting queer human bodies and moved on to representing the queerness of flora and fauna; species in peril or lost, including humanity, under late-stage capitalism; and the natural continual apocalypse of the earth hirself.


About the Artist

Harley Kirschner (they/he) is a multimedia artist, activist, writer and art instructor. Primarily self taught, he completed his BFA at UNM in 2022. He also received a Certificate of Race and Social Justice for his projects at Dismas House, a transitional living program for motivated men on probation or parole. He has been selected for two emerging artist programs, the first at Off Center (2020), the second at Harwood Art Center (Surface, 2021) where he received professional development, gave artist talks and received grant funding. He was awarded the Meghan Ferguson Mráz Award which is given yearly to a Surface artist who explores themes of personal and social significance, exhibits noteworthy care for and skill in their craft and invites reflection on connection, compassion and gratitude. In 2022, he received the Grow Your Small Business Funding grant from Fuse Maker Space which gave him training on various digital and analog equipment and a three-month membership. His passion for drawing and mirrors (which he has included in his work since 2004) naturally lead to an expiration in etching on mirrors which also forces people to participate in his work while viewing it. Kirschner has been an art instructor since 2005. In 2021 he took on the position of lead art instructor at the Albuquerque Museum, teaching young people how to appreciate and be inspired by the amazing permanent and visiting collections in our city.

Kirschner’s work melds baroque and early twentieth century analog arts of drawing and painting, woodworking, laser etching and installation in the manner of Gesamtkunstwerk (‘total work of art’ or many parts that make up a whole). His reference to place and time is a direct response to his hometown of Ithaca, NY, and the scientific relationship between scholar and specimen and his fleeing as a trans person on display in the early 2000s.