Can human impact be visualized?



Nina creates large-scale, realistic drawings as an element of her research process. Based on historic and sometimes classified photographs as well as those resulting from her own fieldwork, these drawings depict the geologic interruptions and human-made destruction of specific places.  The drawings are made using site-specific pigments, including radioactive charcoal, pulverized guns, glacial silt and stardust. The drawings are often cut or incised, removing elements of the image to comment on the voids caused by extractive industries.


  • Nina Elder: What Endures, SITE Santa Fe, NM

  • THE SCORE, Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art  

  • Nina Elder: Accumulations, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 

  • Hot Spots: Radioactivity and the Landscape, Krannert Art Museum, IL and University of Buffalo Art Museum, NY

  • Deep Time Lab with Nina Elder, University of New Mexico Art Museum, Albuquerque 

  • Species in Peril, 516 Arts, Albuquerque, NM

  • Inner Orbit, form + concept, Santa Fe, NM 

  • 66 Mile Radius, Tamarind Institute, Albuquerque, NM  

  • New Works: Nina Elder, Central Features, Albuquerque, NM

  • Atomic Landscapes, IDEA Space, Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO 

  • Nina Elder: Overlook, Rule Gallery, Denver, CO 

  • Marred Landscapes, Oats Park Arts Center, Fallon, NV

  • Landlessness, Ortega y Gasset Projects, Brooklyn, NY

  • Art for a Silent Planet: Blaustein, Elder, and Long, Harwood Museum of Art, Taos, NM

  • Atomic Surplus, Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, NM

  • Taos Contemporary, Center for Visual Arts, Denver, CO

  • Exhaust, Richard Levy Gallery, Albuquerque, NM


LISTS ongoing 

This series of artworks utilize stream of consciousness list-making as a way to think through categories of information and concepts. The lists explore phenomenon, responding to questions including “What protects? What is fleeting? What is exponential?” The emerging words become large 2D artworks with the words meticulously incised into pigment laden paper. 


MINES ongoing

Nina explores the Kennecott Corporation, and how their multinational extractivism has shaped the earth. These are drawn using graphite, dirt, and pulverized detritus that she collected from the original Kennecott Mine in Alaska. 


FORESTS ongoing

Nina’s drawings of clear cut forests and lumber processing reveal some of the most ubiquitous landscapes in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Drawn using incinerated industrial waste from pulp mills, these focus the viewer on the textures and scale of deforestation.



Meteorites are sacred to indigenous people around the globe, yet they are collected by museums as scientific specimens. Nina engaged with indigenous culture bearers around the world to learn about their desire to have the meteorites returned. These drawings depict the voids that are left by scientific colonialism.