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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



Is there a horizon between the past and the future? When exactly does change begin? These contemplations on the physical texture of time and the potential for transformation capture fleeting moments with nuanced attention. Commonplace events mix with icons of social justice-  a tumbleweed tossed on the spring wind in New Mexico, Harriet Tubman’s grasped hands, the secret maps that we each carry on our skulls, the sky over Standing Rock, the reflection of sunshine on a river, the brave first steps of the march from Selma. Highlighting the mighty and the mundane, Nina presents evidence of the perplexing and poetic nature of transformation.



Time is understood through an array of measures - seasons, moods, migrations, and lifelines. This series of drawings explores a constellation of alternative clocks and calendars. 

UPLIFT 2021 

As a counterbalance to the exclusivity she observed in the conspicuous care of yachts, Nina made these drawings while considering what else is carried in more private realms. Created using marine motor lubricant and industrial pulp mill waste—materials that point to certain non-recreational realities in Maine—these drawings abstract what is uplifted and are meditations on the kinds of invisible emotional lifting we all do.

bonds and breaks

bond and breakS 2021  

This series of drawings depicts knotted ropes, mended anchor lines, and fraying nets. As metaphors of living through climate devastation and social upheaval, these images revel in the complexities of dependency and brokenness. They question what tethers humanity during periods of extreme change and how we might exist with what remains.