The UNM Art Museum presents "Under the Skin of New Mexico: The Art of Cady Wells 1933-1953," an exhibition of 29 paintings by Cady Wells, one of the most innovative modern artists working within the creative milieus of Santa Fe and Taos in the 1930s and 1940s. The exhibition runs Jan. 28-May 22, with an opening reception on Friday, Jan. 28, 5-7 p.m.

Guest curated by Lois Rudnick, professor emerita, University of Massachusetts Boston, "Under the Skin of New Mexico" traces Wells' brief but intense two decades as a New Mexico modernist who attempted to tap the expressive power of the land and its cultures that lay beneath the surface.

Wells was included in important contemporary watercolor exhibitions, including at the Whitney Museum of Art, and in seminal exhibitions such as "Abstract and Surrealist Art" in 1947 at the Art Institute of Chicago, that were influential in defining the nature of the new American avant-garde. He was regularly touted in the media alongside Jackson Pollock, Mark Tobey, Morris Graves and Adolph Gottlieb.

The exhibition is accompanied by "Cady Wells and Southwestern Modernism" (Museum of New Mexico Press), a 160-page catalogue with 74 color and 15 black-and-white illustrations. Essays by Robin Farwell Garvin, Sharyn Udall and Lois Rudnick and foreword by UNM Art Museum Director E. Luanne McKinnon contribute to an inclusive understanding of American abstraction.

The exhibition travels to the Harwood Museum of Art in Taos in summer 2011.

Other exhibitions opening Jan. 28 are "Roadcut: The Architecture of Antoine Predock," "Like a Signature: Sketches and Models by Antoine Predock" and rare Holocaust works of art in "Through a Narrow Window: Friedl Dicker-Brandeis and Her Terezin Students."

The UNM Art Museum is located in the Center for the Arts. Admission is free; the suggested donation is $5. The museum is open Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday, 1-4 p.m. Visit UNM Art Museum or call (505) 277-4001.