Exhibition Runs: June 13 – July 28, 2022
Exhibition Reception & Artist Talks: Saturday June 25, 5:00p-7:00p, artist talks starting at 5:30p

Harwood Art Center is pleased to present SURFACE: Emerging Artists of New Mexico and Childlike Behavior by Thomas Bowers. SURFACE is an annual juried exhibition, endowed awards and professional development program presented by Harwood Art Center, to support the creative and professional growth of emerging artists and to expand their visibility and viability in our community. We have received hundreds of noteworthy submissions over the ninth application cycles to-date; as of this year, the program has served 117 exceptionally talented, committed artists, including the 11 we accepted for 2022.

SURFACE 2022 features: Vanessa Alvarado, Abdiel Beltrán, Lauren Crowder, Eva Gabriella Flynn, Luke Graham, Cortney Metzger, Audrey Montoya, Jade Norris, Sam Snell, Alex Streeper, & Diego Villegas.

Public Gallery Hours

Galleries are accessible to the public on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10am-12pm, 1pm-3pm (closed 12p-1p for lunch.) 


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 four named awards and a solo gallery exhibition award, and all receive a special honorarium for their participation.

SURFACE is open to individuals working in any media and from diverse creative fields, including drawing, painting, printmaking, jewelry making, fashion, design, architecture, digital media, etc. We encourage submission of new and /or experimental works. Harwood takes a broad approach to “emerging artist,” and applicants are asked to self-identify with this description. Applicants must be currently living, working and/or studying in New Mexico.

SURFACE enjoys a seven-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.

In 2017, we established an Alumni Circle for participating artists, program alumni (there are now more than 100, including artists who participated in the program at Creative Albuquerque), and workshop panelists past and present. This includes a private reception and short program held later during this program.

Surface Awards

In addition to receiving the SURFACE: Emerging Artists of NM award and honoriam, artists juried into the exhibition are eligible to win additional endowed cash awards. Award Winners will be announced at the Exhibition Reception.

Reggie Gammon Award 

Since 2011, Harwood has honored the memory of painter, printmaker, and longtime member of our creative community, Reggie Gammon, by recognizing and presenting an endowed award in his name to a New Mexico-based emerging artist of exemplary caliber, character and dedication. 

Resoundly, with his painting practice this year’s recipient “imparts the beauty and brutality of life to instill in others an awareness, tenderness, and gratitude for the landscapes that shape us.” This year’s Reggie Gammon Award Winner is Sam Snell.

Marion & Kathryn Crissey Award

The Marion & Kathryn Crissey Award was established and endowed to support the endeavors of emerging artists who demonstrate a commitment to their artwork, their on-going education, and the community in which they live. 

This year’s awardee is not only dedicated to their own continued education, but also to that of others and “believes that art is the perfect vehicle for teaching, uniting, and healing.” We are so happy to present the Marion & Kathryn Crissey Award to Vanessa Alvarado.

Meghan Ferguson Mráz Award      

The Meghan Ferguson Mráz Award celebrates an emerging artist based in New Mexico 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. 

Poignantly, this year’s recipient creates work drawn from their personal history as well as “the experiences, histories, and political policies of the US/Mexico border region.” The 2022 Meghan Ferguson Mráz Award winner is Eva Gabriella Fynn.

Valerie Roybal Award

The Valerie Roybal Award recognizes an emerging artist based in New Mexico who – with Valerie’s spirit of curiosity and courage – channels identity, circumstance, and experience into creative practice, generating work that considers transfiguration, metamorphosis, or transmutation. 

Promptly, this year’s awardee created a body of work that confronts the “depths of feelings that arise from traversing the world where one is expected to quiet themselves and take up less space. This project screams back at all of those notions.” This year’s Valerie Roybal Award Winner is Jade Norris.

Harwood Solo Exhibition Award            

The Harwood Solo Exhibition Award is presented annually for artistic excellence, originality of vision, and dedication to practice, and culminates with a show concurrent to SURFACE in the following year. 

Inspired by their heritage, This year’s receipt explores notions of identity and duality in their interdisciplinary practice. Their work “functions as a bridge within themselves to remembered and forgotten places, and creates a conversation for people who are also in the in-between.” We are proud to present the SURFACE Solo Exhibition Award to Cortney Metzger.

SURFACE: Emerging Artists of New Mexico Digital Exhibition

Vanessa Alvarado

Artist Statement

For as long as she can remember, Vanessa Alvarado has struggled with her weight. Being Mexican American, she has felt like she was part of two cultures that held a certain canon of ideal expectations for the female form; none of which she fits into. Like so many people, she has experienced sizeist bigotry, unwarranted comments on her body, and has felt like her body is against her in many ways. Some people find her work shocking or uncomfortable to look at but this reaction gives viewers a taste of the discomfort she has felt in her own body, her entire life. Her paintings are an attempt at moving into a place of self-compassion, love, and appreciation. Essentially, she is attempting to transfer her great love for painting into a part of her life she has never been able to love: her body.

About Vanessa

Vanessa Alvarado has had a career in the arts for 16 years, creating public art in the form of tile mosaic murals with ALMA, a non-profit she co-founded. In 2011 she received her BFA in Studio Art: Painting at the University of New Mexico. She was born, raised, and lives in the South Valley of Albuquerque. In addition to working for ALMA, she also works as a full-time art and SEL high school teacher has her own ceramic earrings business and was also the Art Director for the South Valley Marigold Parade for four years. Her first love was painting and she is now allowing herself to indulge in it again. She believes that art is the perfect vehicle for teaching, uniting, and healing. Healing is a personal focus in her oil paintings because she believes if we cannot heal ourselves, how can we ever hope to help heal others.


Abdiel Beltrán

Artist Statement

Beltrán’s work primarily consists of non-representational imagery and utilizes painting as a form to interrupt everyday life. His search to find an interruption is enhanced when he leaves the studio and paints in natural spaces. He recreates and re-screens layers of paint and often finds himself wanting to translate what it means and looks like to “let go”. For example, painting non-figuratively en plein air allows him to experience a sense of liberation – typically manifested as gestures and letting the subtleties of the details matter. This process creates a dialogue between letting go while developing the tangible characteristics of painting through layers of marks, color and re-worked imagery. The results document a relationship between the restrictions that come from ordinary life and pushing boundaries as a form to find a sense of freedom within. He invites the viewer to not search for a narrative but to be curious instead.

About Abdiel

Abdiel Beltrán (b.1996) is a first-generation Mexican American artist. In 2021, they received a BFA in Studio Art from the University of New Mexico. Beltrán currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and works in their studio at the Harwood Art Center.



Lauren Crowder

Artist Statement

I’m interested in creating emotional artifacts like the crochet blanket on the back of your grandma’s couch. However, these emotional objects are not passive, they present the female figure in power. I’m walking a fine line between what is fine art and what is craft. This tension is expressed by the vulnerability of the female figure while also using the traditional female crafts of quilting, crochet, and embroidery. My work explores the complexities of the female experience through the female figure, and shows a passion for the dedication to craft and creation.

About Lauren

Lauren Crowder was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and recently got her BFA from UNM. She is a driven person who’s very family oriented, and found a love for community based arts through an apprenticeship granted by the Harwood Art center. Lauren finds joy in the soft, lumpy, squishy, and complicated things in life; her favorite being her dog Norbert.


Eva Gabriella Flynn

Artist Statement

Eva Gabriella Flynn’s earliest memory is at the US/Mexico border. In her memories, she is four and agents have separated her from her mother because they cannot see their resemblance. She is questioned and wants to go home, but doesn’t know which direction to go.

Today, Flynn’s work exists in this liminal space at the border between these two countries. Her work is intuitive and multidisciplinary, depicting the abstracted experiences of a Mexican-American woman through maps and flags from an imaginary revised history of the US/Mexico Border.

Flynn’s maps are drawn on handmade amate paper, weaving personal memory and historical characters into the desert landscapes. Each flag has been dyed, printed, embroidered, and sewn an act of defying borders and reclaiming identity. Weaving personal memory and historical characters into the desert landscape, she charts both the physical and psychological spaces of the Borderlands with nostalgic tenderness.

About Eva

Eva Gabriella Flynn is a Mexican-American multidisciplinary artist exploring feelings of belonging in relationship to history and storytelling. The narratives driving her work are shaped by the experiences, histories, and political policies of the US/Mexico border region. Flynn is from Las Cruces, NM, where she attended New Mexico State University and received a BFA in Studio Arts and a BA in Foreign Languages. She received her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a concentration in Painting and Drawing. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums nationally and internationally including: Field Projects Gallery, New York, NY; the Zhou B Art Center, Chicago, IL; SITE Santa Fe, NM; the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, Milwaukee, WI; Museo del Ferrocaril, Santa Barbara, Chihuahua, Mexico; and Instituto de Lorenzo Medici, Florence, Italy.


Luke Graham

Artist Statement

Recently, Luke Graham experienced a crisis of faith. Devout in his beliefs, and engaged in his church community, Luke had centered his life around theology. As his faith wavers, he has reevaluated the fundamental question of “What is real?”

In his photographic series Physics, he reframes his spiritual understanding in the context of physics and math. The phenomena predicted by these scientific theories are too subtle to be seen directly. For example, time dilation, or the slowing of time, is predicted by Einstein’s work on relativity. While time dilation has been proven true in complicated experiments, one does not encounter these effects while driving a car or riding a bike. In this work, Graham has exaggerated the effects of these phenomena to use them as the setting for a narrative.

By combining his background in science with his new outlook on spirituality, he is creating a new, personalized canon.

About Luke

Luke Graham (b. Portland Oregon) is a photographer in Albuquerque, New Mexico with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Brigham Young University. His interest in physics and math lead him into a career as a Test Engineer, in which he examines phenomena that can’t be seen with the human eye.

In his engineering work, he has developed a receiver system to read signals from satellites, a motorized antenna that sweeps through ion fields in a vacuum, and a thermal chamber that simulates the temperature cycles of a satellite orbiting the earth.

Graham has been focused on creative narrative photography for over eight years. His artistic intentions were sharpened as he transitioned through a crisis of faith. Having been devoutly religious, he took a new look at reality when his core beliefs were no longer trusted. His art became a tool to sort through his new priorities and reevaluate Truth.


Cortney Metzger

Artist Statement

Cortney Metzger spent her summers growing up on the Osage reservation in Oklahoma learning the traditions of her people. A way of life that has influenced how she navigates the world and her artistic practice.

Drawing from and inspired by my heritage, Metzger works in a variety of media, including video performance, textiles, and raw clay materials harvested from the lands that are sacred to her and her people. She uses her body to explore these ideas of identity and creates a visual language that conveys the sense of duality that she experiences.

Metzger’s work functions as a bridge within herself to these remembered and forgotten places. It creates a conversation for people who are also in the in-between with her. She’s interested in how the human body can be compared to a vessel and how that relates to culture and tradition.

About Cortney

Cortney Metzger is a mixed media artist living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She received her Bachelors of Fine Arts in ceramics from Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri in 2016. She recently completed her Masters of Fine Arts with an emphasis in ceramics at the University of New Mexico in 2020. Cortney is of Osage decent and spent her summers growing up on the Osage reservation in Oklahoma. Drawing themes from her heritage, Cortney works in many media including video performance, textiles, and raw clay materials harvested from the lands sacred to her and her people.



Audrey Montoya

Artist Statement

Humorous, surreal, and sometimes exasperated monsters are realized through traditional and non traditional painting and fiber techniques. These pieces are created from virtually collaged physical and digital ephemera reformed into analog objects. Montoya’s monsters represent the extraordinarily mundane; motherhood, loss of identity, grocery shopping. The work lives at the convergence of decorative object and hallowed fine art. A middle ground filled with realism and graphic abstraction. She takes cues from memes, because she wishes her work to be humorous and cathartic. These aforementioned monsters arise with a confused yawn via watercolor, acrylic, wool roving, or yarn. Or some ungodly combination of all five.

About Audrey

Albuquerque based artist, Audrey Montoya has been making monstrosities for the past several years. These monsters are created in reaction to the current state of everything; that bad hair cut she had in the 8th grade; and the way lucky charms are slimy and crunchy at the same time. These monsters take the form of anthropomorphic clouds, drooling wolf rugs, or digitally informed analog paintings. Realistic detail and cartoon abstraction make unsettling yet relatable monsters. Audrey received her BFA in studio art from the university of New Mexico.


Jade Norris

Artist Statement

Jade uses photography to bring the viewer into her emotional state. In this project she creates ownership of the complexities of a raw emotional state. The desolate background provides the landscape in which she bears down and brings about what has been buried inside. What is seen in this project is the depths of feelings that arise from traversing the world where importance and appearance is only as useful as deemed by others; where one is expected to quiet themselves and take up less space. This project screams back at all of those notions and leaves behind a trail of presence and being known.

About Jade

Jade Norris is a photographer and commercial editor who calls the desert home. She’s a mother of two wonderful girls and finds herself enraptured by their creations and the paths they’ve carved through the world. She’s a firm believer in the magic of sunsets, a good poem and green chile smother. She enjoys finding beauty in common things and making messes of them wherever she goes. If you find yourself on a winding trail of overturned dirt, photos and feral creatures, you’ll likely find Jade at the end.


Sam Snell

Artist Statement

Snell’s work draws from nature and the human figure in order to create narratives that speak on the collective experience of belonging to a body, place, and time. He works primarily in oil paint on a large scale, and relies on personal iconography and Classical influences to impart the beauty and brutality of life and instill in others an awareness, tenderness, or gratitude for the landscapes that shape us. His current body of work (which relies on consistent walks in nature and frequent plein air studies) explores how increasing one’s attention in a given space yields an increase in what is perceived, rendering a new reality. As new characters are introduced into the landscape of his life, Snell analyzes new patterns of attention and puts them into various bodily forms, revealing the landscape of the Self and the fears, longings, and beliefs that inhabit or defile it.

About Sam

Sam Snell (born 1999), is an artist living and working in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Snell attended the University of New Mexico for his undergraduate studies, and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with honors in 2021. When painting both in the studio and out in nature, Snell enjoys traditional techniques of imprimatura, glazing, and impasto. The deep blues of sky and distance, along with viridian and acidic greens, are recurring colors in his work.



Alex Streeper

Artist Statement

Originally from Mexico, Alex Streeper’s embroidered and beaded jewelry takes inspiration from the diverse regions of the country – from the beautiful motifs of the tapatio dresses in the Jalisco region, to the colorful plumage of the Aztec dancers and the subtle color variations of the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts. Alex learned to embroider back in Mexico while attending Catholic school in her early years. She learned the basics of beading on her own when she was in elementary school, but it wasn’t until the pandemic hit that she was able to dedicate time to perfecting her art and combine both techniques into larger wearable pieces. She is currently planning and developing larger decorative pieces that incorporate her jewelry techniques.
Guided by the storied process which emerges, she forges connections contained within traditional tools and materials and a conversation is sparked between the maker, material, and process. Through her work she asks – What draws us and guides us? What do we align with? Where do we go from here?

About Alex

Alex Streeper was born and raised in Baja California, Mexico. She’s the co-founder of ArtWalk Santa Fe, a recurring outdoor arts and crafts market providing local and emerging artists with an open space to sell their products and get exposure to the Santa Fe community. She specializes in embroidery arts and beading, and sells her creations under the brand Alita’s Mexican Curios.



Diego Villegas

Artist Statement

The work of Diego Villegas is informed by the conglomeration of religious tradition, sexuality, and the occult; it is an attempt to address the desperate need for seemingly opposing ideals to coexist in order to create a more vibrant and enriching understanding of the world. He takes secular symbols and makes them sacred, and his work represents the ordinary through the lens of adoration and unquestioned worthiness. Diego is able to gently take sacred symbols, and make them more accessible in an indirect yet familiar way. Through his work, he strives to be a builder of bridges, creating spaces where many viewpoints may have a seat at the same table.

About Diego

Diego Villegas was born and raised in Albuquerque New Mexico in a Hispanic, Roman Catholic household. To say he was self taught would erase the profound impact of having a very creative family, a wonderful art teacher who became a cherished friend, and all the people who surround him and inspire him to follow his own path. Diego’s work is influenced by the traditional Spanish Colonial style of painting, as well as Orthodox Iconography. His style shifted toward a modern, more graphic use of line and shape through the influences of Illustration and Graphic Design.



Exhibition Catalog