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Sanitary Tortilla Factory
401-403 2nd St SW
Albuquerque, NM 87102

(505) 228-3749


A Companion for Departure

(L) Billy Joe Miller. Window Soles, 2022;  (R) Bethany Springer. I Dreamt it Was a Dream that You Were Gone, 2022. Courtesy of the Artists

A Companion for Departure
Billy Joe Miller and Bethany Springer

October 8 – 29, 2022
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 8, 5-8 pm
Closing Reception: Saturday, October 29, 5-8 pm featuring Poet Lauren Camp

Sanitary Tortilla Factory is pleased to announce a new visual arts exhibition entitled A Companion for Departure by Billy Joe Miller and Bethany Springer. A Companion for Departure will be on display October 8th – October 29th with viewing hours Thursdays and Fridays, 12 pm-5 pm. Opening and closing receptions celebrating Springer and Miller’s A Companion for Departure will take place Saturday, October 8th from 5 – 8 pm and Saturday, October 29th from 5 – 8 pm. Poet Lauren Camp will contribute to the closing reception of a public reading of work that is produced from a collaborative exchange of ideas positing A Companion for Departure. This reception is free and open to the public.

In this collective moment of vulnerability, Springer and Miller lose themselves to embark on a shared journey that bridges the familiar and unfamiliar, seeking points of contact between the enigmatic terrain of the body, mortality, and a projected home in outer space. 

In a series of conversations spanning over a year, the artists shared experiences that ultimately and profoundly shaped the creation of work. These call-and-response discussions mined the limitations and possibilities of the body, thresholds of loss and resurrection, increasing competition for natural resources held by a planet in crisis, and wonder for the mysteries of the universe as they unfold. Music perpetually materialized as a point of departure and arrival – as a result, song lyrics are woven through the exhibition. Deciphering what was found, the created works coexist as coordinates in a synthesized map, as companions in a metamorphosis processing historical space, memorials, time capsules and artifacts in their wake. 

Artist Bios

Bethany Springer received an MFA in Sculpture from the University of Georgia and holds a Modern Dance minor from Virginia Tech. She is the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, Individual Fellowships from the Arkansas and Iowa Arts Councils, and a Community Research Award from the UA Community and Family Institute. She has been in residence at Full Tilt Creative Centre and Terra Nova National Park in Newfoundland, The Arctic Circle in Svalbard, the Fine Arts Work Center, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Tides Institute & Museum of Art, and Marble House Project among others. Exhibition venues include 21C Museum Hotel, Maryland Art Place, Boston Center for the Arts, the Delaware Contemporary, LHUCA, and most recently as a contributor to the Personal Structures exhibition at the 2022 Venice Art Biennale. Springer currently lives and works in Fayetteville, Arkansas and is an Associate Professor in Sculpture + Experimental Media at the University of Arkansas.

Billy Joe Miller is a self-taught interdisciplinary artist who creates sculptures, installations, and public art in response to the natural world. The themes of belonging, shelter, and sanctuary are integral to his work. As a hospice nursing assistant for many years, Miller accompanied people through the process of dying. His experiences in healthcare-related sites, as well as his diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 2010, have inspired his desire to create accessible public art for parks, community centers, medical clinics, and hospitals. Originally from San Diego, California, Miller now lives in the East Mountains of Albuquerque, New Mexico. In addition to his studio practice, Miller creates collaborative community-based projects and produces public art. His work has been supported by New Mexico Arts, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Meow Wolf, Bridge Projects, The Speranza Foundation, City of Palm Desert, and the National Endowment for the Arts.



Michelle Murphy

September 3 – 25, 2021

Opening Reception: Friday September 3, 2021 at 4-9pm
Performance: Saturday September 4th, 2021 at Noon
Masks Required at all events

Sanitary Tortilla Factory is proud to present Space Race UNCLASSIFIED by Michelle Marie Murphy (M.M.M.). M.M.M. shares artwork + artifacts + opinions after a decade-long contract with NASA. The artist was previously a photo-based propagandist for science + the US Military and now insights with social + body-based practices, research, and provocation, the goal of being & becoming: civil rights & knowledge sharing.

MMM reveals NASA’s Unclassified human history: Operation Paperclip [Nazi Scientists who were given employment and citizenship in America at the end of WWII to work for the US Government], Civil Rights era missteps, and collaborations with Disney.

What did it feel like to become irrationally attracted to the Moon, the pulse of our tides, the reflection of our life star, ONLY to discover that 12 square white American men have gone? MMM sold telescopes and STEM toys at the downtown mall in Cleveland from 1998-2003. MMM went to Adult Space Camp as “Lady Apollo” in 2003 on a credit card and found their-self 2 years later in a full term contract with the government as a NASA Photographer. They then left this “lifelong” career because eventually they knew exactly how their work contributes to weapons in war. MMM is a pacifist, an artist, a scholar that was swept into a brilliant sparkling whirlpool of DREAMS (and Power) and lost sight of the point. To love. To work together. To dream together. To die together. To live together. They are imperfect and tired (sometimes) but “light up” with every person they are privileged enough to speak with. MMM will be here for part of the duration of the exhibition. They would love to meet you, to listen, to share insights, to speak about space and the future, to see.

From photographic archive digs to solo stunts at White Sands National Park & Missile Range, MMM’s work is a series of art, actions, and revision notes. They combat supremacy through site visits, conversations, education, and embodied practices. MMM finds the truth and responds to American amnesia, and the pervasive culture of “Explorers” that continue to “dream” and traverse without human and eco care. The Artist reveals human-based histories (oppressive and lesser-known) and inspires new culture-in-the-making.


Michelle Murphy (they/them/theirs) is a visual and performance artist based in Chicago, Illinois. Their work and research orbits around lesser-known sites and histories of the American Space Program.

Murphy earned a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) as a New Artist’s Society Fellow and a BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art. Murphy has participated in several artist’s residencies including: Mana Contemporary Miami, SITELAB at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Elsewhere (Greensboro, NC). Murphy’s interdisciplinary work has been exhibited in NYC, Paris, Switzerland, Guatemala City, Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, Albuquerque, Detroit, and Cleveland. Murphy co-curates the art and culture publication MAKE8ELIEVE with Swiss Artist + Designer named Cetusss. From 2013-2015 Murphy was Director and Founder of an Artist’s Residency Program and Gallery, Micro Art Space, in Cleveland Ohio which provided solo exhibitions, support, documentation, and mentorship for 18 Artists over 3 years. Murphy has lectured at SAIC, University of New Mexico, University of Chicago, Ithaca College, University of Utah, Loyola University, Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland State University, and Cuyahoga Community College.


AmericanHorse (L) and Channing Concho of Acoma Pueblo take a selfie after a sculpture of Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate was removed on June 16, 2020 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The previous evening a protester was shot while others were trying to pull down the statue of Oñate, who was known for his cruelty to the Native Americans. Pueblo and Chicano leaders have been trying for decades to have the statue removed. 
Photo by Paul Ratje

THE FIRE NEXT TIME…a longing in our hearts….


THE FIRE NEXT TIME   is an exhibition that looks back to last summer’s national and regional protests that followed the police killing of George Floyd. Symbols of Confederate and colonial oppression took center stage in gathering forces imagining an undeniable reckoning. Simultaneously terrifying and hopeful, the protests of last summer are a year behind us. This exhibition will include ephemera from recent protests in hopes to remind us of the people,  passion, commitment and sacrifice many of our communities made in hope of a better tomorrow.  Part memorial, part instigation, part celebration – the artists in this exhibition want you to dig deep today and tomorrow.

The title of the exhibition is taken from the James Baldwin book published in 1963. The title is a reminder of the long history of white supremacy and the deadly struggle for equality in this country. The Fire Next Time brings together local artists working in sound, performance, painting and physical objects. These works exist against a backdrop of community sourced signs, banners and objects from the demonstrations and protests of last summer.  The exhibition also honors community led  projects emphasizing the good that can be done when community members come together.


Approved by God – Tanner Slick

Image credit: Tanner Slick, Small Prick Carries Heavy Load

Approved by God
Tanner Slick
MAY 7-29, 2021

Reception: Friday, May 7,  5-7pm

Sanitary Tortilla Factory presents new works by UNMs College of Fine Art MFA candidate TANNER SLICK. The ambitious, mixed media exhibition, Approved by God the artist blurs boundaries between object/body, pleasure/pain. Binary conditions and beliefs are transformed to complex intersections. The works range from small cast bronze representational distortions of bodies to transporting large-scale installations carefully crafted from scavenged materials. Each piece begins with improvisation and ends in articulated detail. The use of any material necessary approach to sculpting the world they know as a queer, masculine transsexual, southern (anti)belle.


APPROVED BY GOD was the phrase found on a hand painted sign strapped to the basket of a dirty, broken and clearly beloved trike at the Esperanza community bike shop in Albuquerque a few years ago. That trike became the frame for a collaborative mobile sound-cart that Tanner was working on at the time. The statement was as fitting for that beautiful piece of junk as anything else on this earth. If God is the creator of all things, then isn’t everything pre-approved?

Tanner Slick is a sculptor, scavenger and social-practice artist from Atlanta, GA, who is living in Albuquerque. Their art takes form in hand-crafted objects, installations, public interventions, audio/video and community spaces. Often working with reclaimed materials and cultural symbolism, they transform normative ideas of gender, power, sex and violence. From gnarled wood and rusty metal to glam, queer, kink aesthetics, they fuse a non-binary and trans experience with the lawless complexities of the natural, non-human world. 

Slick also has a long-standing practice of community-building through collective living, farming/gardening and education projects. Since May of 2020 they have been collaboratively rehabilitating a two-story house on farmland into a shared living, growing and creative space in Albuquerque, NM. Slick received their BA from Mt. Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA in 2008 and is expecting to receive their MFA from the University of New Mexico in the spring of 2021.

Tanner Slick is the recipient of Sanitary Tortilla Factory’s 2021 Exceptional Visual Artist Scholar (EVAS) award. The EVAS series offers professional space for Master of Fine Art graduate students per year as their final thesis show. The culminating exhibition launches them into their profession as an artist. With the series, we underscore exceptional artists attending regional institutions while highlighting Albuquerque’s innovative connection to contemporary art practices.

HOLD YOU by Tamara Zibners


Image credit: Tamara Zibners, ,Close Up #66, Hold You. Inkjet Print, 44”x 44”, 2020

Tamara Zibners
APRIL 2 – MAY 1, 2021

Closing Reception: Friday, April 30 5-7pm
Masks Required

Sanitary Tortilla Factory presents HOLD YOU by Tamara Zibners. Zibners looks at the fleeting period of time during early motherhood when she and her child are physically connected. Throughout their day together, Zibners makes simple photographs with her phone, which she later transforms into digital drawings by using the images as underlays. Using the original colors as a source, she alters and pushes the palate to enhance or confuse the mood and amplify the abstract nature of the shapes found through loose contours. Some drawings are finished works, and others she reworks into collage pieces of various sizes, each an amalgamation of the myriad of colors and moods that are present in the digital drawings. Zibners intends to create an image that is recognizable as a domestic snapshot, but is degraded, cartoonish and abstract.  The result is a body of work that is at once disorienting and familiar, grotesque but tender.  After this pandemic’s year of physical distance, Zibners hopes that this work, which is ultimately about human touch, vibrates with extra intensity. 

Tamara Zibners was born in Carmichael, California. In 2004 she received her undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz and her Masters in Fine Art from the University of New Mexico in 2011. She is currently enjoying working in her studio and caring for her child at the Roswell Artist in Residence compound in Roswell, New Mexico.