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Athena LaTocha

B. Anchorage, Alaska

Athena LaTocha is an Alaska-born artist whose work explores the relationship between natural landscapes and human-made environments.

Athena LaTocha, In the Wake of, 2021, Installation View, BRIC Contemporary, Brooklyn, NY

Athena LaTocha, In the Wake of, 2021, Detail

She is drawn not only to wilderness areas and national parks but also to mines, oil fields, and quarries--places where humans extract power and energy from the land.

 
LaTocha begins each project by researching the geological and cultural history of a specific place and then going directly to the land to observe and listen intently to what it might reveal.

Athena LaTocha, Installation View, MOMA PS1, Long Island City, New York

Athena LaTocha, After the Falls, 2021, Installation View, Visual Arts Center, New Jersey

Athena LaTocha, October, 2021, Shellac ink on paper, lead, fiberglass, steel.

Athena LaTocha, 17th Century, 2021, Shellac ink on paper, lead, fiberglass, steel.

Athena LaTocha, A Thing Not Past, 2021, Shellac ink on paper, lead, fiberglass, steel.

 
 
She compiles a bank of digital images, videos, and sound recordings to evoke memories of her experiences, and gathered materials to use in creating the work.

Athena LaTocha: Land Disturbed, Olin Art Gallery, Washington & Jefferson College, Washington, Pennsylvania

LaTocha then unfurls large rolls of paper on the floor and immerses herself in the painting, working from the inside out and using earth-toned inks, soil, and industrial solvents that she applies to the surface using tools such as tire shreds, scrap metal, and bricks.

Athena LaTocha in the studio

LaTocha's life-size lead imprints, which straddle the lines between drawing, painting and sculpture, convey the mystery and power embedded in ancient places that are both a natural wonder and a site of industrialization.

Athena LaTocha, Installation View, 2019, JDJ the Ice House, Garrison, NY

She molds thin sheets of lead into and around rock faces, or trees, and takes these impressions back to her studio, where she transforms them into works.

Athena LaTocha, Murderer's Creek, Detail, 2019

Much of her practice is rooted in the direct experience of wilderness, the untrampled landscape, the unyielding power of nature, and the human intervention inflicted upon the earth—a reworking of the natural world.

Athena LaTocha, Buffalo Prairie (Slow Burn), 2019, Ink, prairie earth, prairie grass on paper 115 x 563 inches, Plains Art Museum, ND

 
 
 
LaTocha finds this contrast both captivating and troubling. As we harness the earth's power and deplete its once-abundant resources, we sometimes forget that it is also a living thing. LaTocha notes: "As a species, we are always working towards advancement and refinement. I think we sometimes forget in our doing so that nature, raw and untamed, is what we need to stay close to in order to understand our place and way in the world and within the cosmos."

Athena LaTocha, La Bajada Red, 2016-17, Installation view, IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe, NM

Athena LaTocha, La Bajada Red, 2016-17, Sumi and walnut ink, and earth on paper, 104 x 362 inches

Burning, Sulphuric, Violent was created while LaTocha was in residence at Silver Art Projects nearby the new performing arts center that is rising in the World Trade Center complex.

Athena LaTocha, Burning, Sulfuric, Violent, 2020
Shellac ink, World Trade Center building sand on paper, 132 × 204 inches
Installation view, Shirley Fiterman Art Center, New York, NY

She was fascinated by the materials and systems used to erect the structure, and sand from the site has made its way directly into her composition. Her abstract imagery conjures up not just impressions of the massive construction site, but also layers of memories of forest fires she experienced in Alaska, coupled with views of the sunset over the Hudson, as well as rust, and grit, and weather-worn exteriors that convey the passing of time.

Athena LaTocha
Burning, Sulfuric, Violent, 2020
Shellac ink, World Trade Center building sand on paper, 132 × 204 inches

LaTocha recently completed Bulbancha (Green Silence), 2019 during a recent residency at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans.

Athena LaTocha, Bulbancha (Green Silence, 2019, Installation View, Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY

She spent many hours observing the unique landscape of Louisiana, which inspired the composition. Spanish moss and mud from the Mississippi River are worked into the materials.

Athena LaTocha, Bulbancha Green, 2019, Detail

Initiated outdoors on the desert floor near Santa Fe, Thirteen Days retains a trace of the weather and natural elements in the gestures captured on the paper.

Athena LaTocha
Thirteen Days, 2017-2019, Ink and earth on paper, 44 × 120 × 2 inches

Athena LaTocha, Thirteen Days, 2017-2019, Detail

Ozark, 2018, incorporates lead impressions from the Arkansas landscape, a place that was an important site along the Trail of Tears as well as the Civil War.

Athena LaTocha, Ozark (Shelter in Place), 2018, Ink and earth on paper, and lead,
120 × 288 × 12 inches

 
 
 

Athena LaTocha

Athena LaTocha

(b. Anchorage, Alaska) is an artist whose massive works on paper explore the relationship between human-made and natural worlds, in the wake of Earthworks artists from the 1960s and 1970s. The artist incorporates materials such as ink, lead, earth and wood, while looking at correlations between mark-marking and displacement of materials made by industrial equipment and natural events. Her works are inspired by her upbringing in the wilderness of Alaska. LaTocha’s process is about being immersed in these environments, while responding to the storied and, at times, traumatic cultural histories that are rooted in place.

Her work has been shown across the country in places such as the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas; IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico; CUE Art Foundation and Artists Space, New York City; South Dakota Art Museum, Brookings, South Dakota; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, Louisiana; and the International Gallery of Contemporary Art in Anchorage, Alaska. In 2019 she had solo exhibitions at JDJ | The Ice house in Garrison, New York; the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, North Dakota; and the MacRostie Art Center in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Also in 2019, she was artist in residence at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. In early 2021, her work was on view in Land Akin at Smack Mellon in Brooklyn, New York and ID: Formations of the Self at Shirley Fiterman Art Center in New York City.

LaTocha is the recipient of artist grants, residencies and awards, among them the Eiteljorg Fellowship in 2021, Joan Mitchell Foundation in 2019 and 2016, Wave Hill in 2018, and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in 2013. LaTocha received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Stony Brook University, New York. The artist divides her time between New York City and Peekskill, New York.
Athena LaTocha CV

Education

2007

Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, MFA

1992

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, BFA
The Art Students League of New York, NY

Solo Exhibitions

2021

Land Disturbed, Olin Art Gallery, Washington & Jefferson College, Washington, Pennsylvania

2019

Buffalo Prairie (Slow Burn), Plains Art Museum, Fargo, ND

Athena LaTocha, JDJ | The Ice House, Garrison, NY

Mesabi, MacRostie Art Center, Grand Rapids, MN

2017

Athena LaTocha: Inside the Forces of Nature, IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe, NM

2015

Athena LaTocha, CUE Art Foundation, New York, NY

2014

In the Beginning, St Ann and the Holy Trinity, Brooklyn, NY
New Works, Gallery SENSEI, New York, NY

2006

Sturm und Drang, Lawrence Alloway Gallery, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY
Works in Progress, Lawrence Alloway Gallery, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY

2003

Recent Work, Terazza Gallery, Elmhurst, NY

1997

Recent Work, Red Mill Gallery, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT

Selected Group Exhibitions

2021

Family Business, JDJ | Tribeca, New York, NY

Land Escape: Nanette Carter, Athena LaTocha, Wura-Natasha Ogunji, Fridman Gallery, Beacon, New York

Land Akin, Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, New York

A stranger's soul is a deep well, Fridman Gallery, New York, New York

In Three: Athena LaTocha, Ulrike Müller, Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, Hesam Rahmanian, Callicoon Fine Arts, New York, New York

2020

Ear to the Ground: Earth and Element in Contemporary Art, New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA

Rituals of Regard and Recollection, Law Warschaw Gallery, Macalester College, Saint Paul, MN

Iyáchin, Aktá Lakota Museum, Chamberlain, SD

ID: Formations of the Self, Shirley Fiterman Art Center, Borough of Manhattan Community College, New York, NY

2019

Up Next, Kleinert/James Center for the Arts, Woodstock, NY

2018

Art for a New Understanding: Native Voices, 1950s to Now, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR

Landscape: Real and Imagined, Site:Brooklyn Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Takuwe (traveling exhibition), The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School, Pine Ridge, SD; Journey Museum, Rapid City, SD; Aktá Lakota Museum, Chamberlain, SD; South Dakota Art Museum, Brookings, SD
Landscape Revisited, Sarah Silberman Art Gallery, Montgomery College, Derwood, MD

2017

Tapun Sa Win (traveling exhibition), Journey Museum, Rapid City, SD; South Dakota Art Museum, Brookings, SD; Aktá Lakota Museum, Chamberlain, SD

2016

The Horse Nation of the Ochéthi Šakówin (traveling exhibition), The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School, Pine Ridge, SD; The Dahl Arts Center, Rapid City, SD; The South Dakota Art Museum, Brookings, SD; Aktá Lakota Museum, Chamberlain, SD
Stony Brook: 1973 – 2016, Braircliffe College Gallery, Patchogue, NY
The Other America, Patchogue Art Center, Patchogue, NY
Ars Nova, Tabla Rasa Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
The Great Race, Journey Museum, Rapid City, ND

2015

Lakota Emergence (traveling exhibition), Dahl Arts Center, Rapid City, SD The South Dakota Art Museum, Brookings, SD; Aktá Lakota Museum, Chamberlain, SD
How to catch eel and grow corn, Wilmer Jennings Gallery at Kenkeleba, New York, NY

2013

The Old Becomes the New: New York Contemporary Native American Art Movement and the New York School, Wilmer Jennings Gallery at Kenkeleba, New York, NY

2010

10th Anniversary Show, The New York Society of Etchers, Inc., The National Arts Club, Gramercy Park, New York, NY
The Concours, Phyllis Harriman Mason Gallery, The Art Students League of New York, New York, NY
IN/SIGHT 2010, Chelsea Art Museum, New York, NY

2009

Generations 7, A.I.R. Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
PAINT!, climate/gallery, Long Island City, NY
One Way: MFA Alumni Exhibition, SAC Gallery, Stony Brook University, New York
If I Didn’t Care, Park Gallery, The Park School, Baltimore, MD

2008

Red Dot Exhibition, Phyllis Harriman Mason Gallery, The Art Students League of New York, New York, NY
The Concours, Phyllis Harriman Mason Gallery, The Art Students League of New York, New York, NY

2007

Night of 1,000 Drawings, Artists Space, New York, NY
Art Student Exhibition, ISE Cultural Foundation, New York, NY
2007 Best of SUNY, New York State Museum, Albany, NY
2007 SUNY Faculty Senate Student Art Show, College of Optometry, State University of New York, Albany, NY
College Art Association New York Area MFA Exhibition, Hunter College MFA Gallery, New York, NY
play it as it lays, Lawrence Alloway Gallery, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY
MFA Group Thesis Exhibition, University Art Gallery, Staller Center, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY

2006

2006 Fall SUNY Student Exhibit, State University Plaza Gallery, Albany, NY

2005

Art Show: Fine Art Street Galleries, Pittsfield, MA
3.75 oz., MFA First Year Exhibition, Lawrence Alloway Gallery, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY
New York Mix, American Indian Community House Gallery, New York, NY

2003

Native Americans, Credit Suisse First Boston, New York, NY
Warriors of the Rainbow, American Indian Community House Gallery, New York, NY

1997

Sacred Art, Juried Exhibition, The International Gallery of Contemporary Art, Anchorage, AK
Big Drawings, TOAST Gallery, Anchorage, AK
Creative Lives: Women of the Smithsonian, SITES, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

1996

Singing Our Songs: Women, Art, Healing, American Indian Community House Gallery, New York, NY

1995

New American Paintings, Juried Midwestern Exhibition Edition, The Open Press Studios, Needham, MA

1994

10,000 Plus, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Press

2021

Mitter, Siddhartha. “Her Art Reads the Land in Deep Time,” The New York Times, November 24, 2021.

Bury, Louis. "Athena LaTocha Digs Deep into Brooklyn’s Past,” Hyperallergic, December 15, 2021.

“Spotlight, Athena LaTocha: In the Wake of…BRIC,” Artforum, 2021.

Shellenberger, Shen, “The First Water is the Body” and “After the Falls”-Exhibitions Present Visual Celebration of Indigenous People”, New Jersey Stage, November 5, 2021.

Lee, Shannon, “8 Artists to Discover at MoMA PS1’s Greater New York 2021, Artsy, October 6, 2021.

Greenberger, Alex, “8 Standouts at MoMA PS1’s Greater New York: Passionate Protests, Otherworldly Beings, and More” ARTnews, October 6, 2021.

Schulman, Sandra Hale, “How Collectors Can Support Indigenous and Native American Artists”, Artsy, October 7, 2021.

Bishara, Hakim, “92 New York Artists Receive $616,000 in Grants”, Hyperallergic, July 13,2021.

Marston-Reid, Linda, “Inaugural exhibit at new Beacon gallery features 'conceptual landscapes,’” The Poughkeepsie Journal, June 4, 2021.

2019

Green, Christopher. "Beyond Inclusion" Art News, Art In America, February 1, 2019.

2018

“Fall Preview: The Most Promising Museum Shows and Biennials Around the World,” ARTnews, Fall 2018.

Hinman, Michael, Simone Johnson, Zak Kostro & Tiffany Moustakas. “The Bronx still beckons with cultural offerings and just plain fun,” The Riverdale Press, October 14, 2018.

Joy, Christopher and Zachary Keeting. “Athena LaTocha,” Gorky’s Granddaughter. February 19, 2018.

Kinder, Kevin. “Contemporary native art serves as focus of new exhibit at Crystal Bridges,” Fayetteville Flyer, October 05, 2018.

McKay, Serenah. “Arkansas museum spotlights American Indians,” Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette, October 06, 2018.

Martin, Philip. “No reservations, Crystal Bridges’ ‘Art for a New Understanding’ offers different perspectives on American Indians,” Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette, October 21, 2018.

Moustakas, Tiffany. “Artists warm to winter workspace,” The Riverdale Press, March 02, 2018.

2017

Abatemarco, Michael. “MoCNA – Athena LaTocha: ‘Inside the Forces of Nature’,” Pasatiempo, January 27, 2017.

D’Agostino, David. “Environmental Painting as Landscape,” The Woven Tale Press, May 05, 2017.

Davis, Eric. Interview with Athena LaTocha, Jason Reed, Wanesia Spry Misquadace, Frank Buffalo Hyde. Through Our Eyes. Santa Fe Community College Broadcast, KSFR 101.1, December 05, 2017.

Interview with Athena LaTocha and Manuela Well-Off-Man. Coffee and Culture. Hutton Broadcasting, KVSF 101.5, March 22, 2017.

Eddy, Jordon. Review. “Athena LaTocha: Inside the Forces of Nature,” Art Ltd., May / June 2017.

Lanteri, Michelle. “Athena LaTocha: Inside the Forces of Nature. Santa Fe: IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts.” First American Art Magazine, Issue 15, Summer 2017.

2016

Halperin, Julia. “The Florida island that revived Rauschenberg,” The Art Newspaper, December 2, 2016.

Montiel, Anya. “The Monumental Scrapings of Athena LaTocha,” American Indian Magazine, Summer 2016.

2015

Wong, Ryan. “Exploring the Terrain of Native American Art,” Hyperallergic, May 19, 2015.

2013

Brennan, Patrick. “Manahatta Revisabled: The Old Becomes New: New York Contemporary Native Art Movement and The New York School,” resolve40.com, May 2013.

Pearlman, Ellen. “Everything Old Is New Again: Native Americans and the New York School,” Hyperallergic, April 24, 2013.

2012

Meier, Allison. "GO Sunset Park: An Emerging Art Community," Hyperallergic, September 10, 2012.

2010

Russeth, Andrew. “The Insight from Way Out,” ArtInfo, January 15, 2010.

2007

“SUNY Chancellor To Award Best of SUNY Student Art,” SUNY News, May 24, 2007.

Cockroft, James. “MFA Thesis Exhibition 2007,” SBGradMag, Stony Brook Online Graduate Magazine, April 12, 2007.

Das, Nanditha. “MFA Thesis 2007,” The Stony Brook Statesman, April 19, 2007.

Hayes, Stephanie. “MFA Thesis Exhibit,” The Stony Brook Press, Volume 28, Issue 12, March 28, 2007.

Skolnik, Lisa. “An Urban Set Piece.” Chicago Tribune Magazine, July 29, 2007.

2006

“Athena LaTocha’s Sturm und Drang,” SBGradMag, Stony Brook Online Graduate Magazine, November 29, 2006.

Romano, Jowy. “Sturm und Drang,” The Stony Brook Press, Volume 28, Issue 5, November 2006.

2005

Schultz, Natalie. “3.75 oz: MFA First-Year Exhibition,” The Stony Brook Press, May 4, 2005.

1998

New Ventures. Manhattan Public Access Channel 69, 1998.

1989

Northern Light, St. Lawrence University, Spring 1989, back cover.

Books and catalogues:

PAINT!. Long Island City, NY: climate/gallery, 2009.
New American Paintings, Midwestern Exhibition Edition. Needham, MA: The Open Press Studios, 1995.
Besaw, Mindy N., Candice Hopkins, and Manuela Well-Off-Man. Art for a New Understanding: Native Voices, 1950s to Now. Fayetteville: The University of Arkansas Press, 2018.
Delaney, Rick. If I Didn’t Care: Multigenerational Artists Discuss Cultural Histories. Baltimore, MD: The Park School of Baltimore, 2009.
Howe, Craig. Takuwe. Martin, SD: CAIRNS, 2018.
Tapun Sa Win. Martin, SD: CAIRNS, 2017.
The Great Race. Martin, SD: CAIRNS, 2016.
Lakota Emergence. Martin, SD: CAIRNS, 2015.
Athena LaTocha. New York: CUE Art Foundation. 2015.
Hepworth, Stephen. How to catch eel and grow corn. New York: American Indian Artists Incorporated (AMERINDA), 2015.
Martine, David Bunn. No Reservation: New York Contemporary Native American Art Movement. New York, NY: American Indian Artists Incorporated (AMERINDA), 2017.
The Old Becomes the New: New York Contemporary Native American Art Movement and the New York School. New York: American Indian Artists Incorporated (AMERINDA), 2013.

Awards & Residencies

2021
Sharpe Walentas Studio Program, Brooklyn, NY
Barns Art Center, East Fishkill, NY

2020
Silver Art Projects, World Trade Center, New York, NY

2019
Joan Mitchell Center, New Orleans, LA
MacRostie Art Center, Grand Rapids, MN
Plains Art Museum, Fargo, ND

2018
Winter Workspace Program, Wave Hill, New York, NY

2017
Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, NM

2008-2015
chashama, Inc., New York, NY

2013
Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Residency, Captiva, FL

1997
Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT

Public Collections

Aktá Lakota Museum, Chamberlain, ND
Alaska Native Medical Center Auxiliary, Anchorage, AK
Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies, Martin, SD
The Chicago Bulls, Chicago, IL
IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe, NM
Kenkeleba House New York, New York, NY
Plains Art Museum, Fargo, ND
Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY