Afton Love, Center Stone (detail), graphite and beeswax on vellum, 34 x 28 inches

Afton Love: Perfect Union

February 27, 2021 – May 22, 2021

View the exhibition in-person, Wednesday-Saturday, 12-4pm

516 ARTS presents Perfect Union, a solo exhibition by Afton Love, a northern New Mexico-based artist, who works across media, including graphite, beeswax, clay, wool, and resin. Her immersive installation sized drawings and exploratory sculpture aim to call attention to our human condition in connection with the natural world.

Afton Love makes work that asks the viewer to approach. Her large scale drawings of erosional rock formations invite you to step in and engage with the scale and proportion of the work. Loves sculptures replicate geologic patterns and evoke experience or direct interaction with the land using a variety of materials and processes. As an exploration of formation vs transformation, and interiority vs surface, this exhibition merges materiality and imagery to reference our human experience of body and time.

Perfect Union explores geology and an interest in how rocks are created and transformed on the earth’s surface. Describing sedimentary rocks as fragile bodies that constantly lose their layers due to constant friction and interaction with the environment, Love states, “We cannot access the interior of things or people, only the thin layer of surface that covers them where a limited portion of reality is manifested. The stone is a metaphor for our planet and ourselves.”

On view concurrently with Neal Ambrose-Smith: The (Tense) Present in the downstairs gallery, both exhibitions seek to give perspective on the chaos and tumult in the world by exploring two different approaches to looking at the passage of time. Love’s work shares a geological sense of time. Her large-scale drawings of rock formations consider the time span of hundreds of thousands of years. In contrast, Ambrose-Smith’s body of work channels his responses to the current political and social upheaval.


Sublime Formations: The Beauty and Horror of Afton Love’s Desertscapes” exhibition brochure essay by Rebecca Ora/rora


“Studies of time: 516 Arts hosts dual solo shows featuring works by Neal Ambrose-Smith and Afton Love,” by Kathaleen Roberts for the Albuquerque Journal

Artist Afton Love Rocks: Afton Love explores grand questions by detailing the tiniest of changes,” by Molly Boyle for New Mexico Magazine

Afton Love earned her BFA at the California College of the Arts in 2012, and has participated in residencies at several institutions including the Vermont Studio with a Pollock-Krasner grant, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and most recently, the 2018-2019 Roswell Artist in Residence grant. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally.

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