516 ARTS Brings New Life to the Surface: Art Party on 3/9

"Nomadik Harvest Dress" by Nicole Dextras
“Nomadik Harvest Dress” by Nicole Dextras.


The surface is just superficial, right? Not when Lea Anderson is organizing a show about it.

As guest curator for Albuquerque’s nonprofit artspace 516 ARTS, Anderson amassed a big body of work for the group show Flatlanders & Surface Dwellers. The opening reception is Saturday, March 9, from 6-8pm. If you haven’t been to a 516 ARTS opening before, this is a great show to start with. And if you’re one of the loyal opening-reception attenders, then we’ll see you there at 516 Central Avenue.

“Artists today really look around them and make art out of everything,” Andersen said. “There’s almost nothing that hasn’t been put into a piece of art. Except maybe toxic waste.”

This idea of what qualities make up the surface was big for us all not too long ago when writer Malcolm Gladwell came out with Blink, about how we compile miles of immediately relevant information from the first two seconds of seeing somebody — enough information to generally trust our gut judgments. Flatlanders & Surface Dwellers is the tangible form of how we read and react to the surfaces all around us like the streets, walls, clothes, tree bark, tables, piano keys, balloons, couches.

“There’s all this potential information in the surface the artist can use to explore ideas,” Anderson said. “We think about surface in society more as things are only skin deep or there’s definitely an attempt to cover up flaws. Artists can do that too but we’re hyper-aware of the potential of the surface.”

It is remarkable how you can anticipate how a surface will feel to the touch just by looking at it. But you can’t touch the art at the 516.

“Unless there wasn’t anyone looking,” Anderson laughed.

Flatlanders & Surface Dwellers Opening Reception
Saturday, March 9, 6-8pm
516 ARTS is located in Downtown Albuquerque, NM, on Central Avenue between 5th & 6th Streets.


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