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Athena LaTocha's practice explores the relationship between natural and manmade landscapes.

Installation view, JDJ, Garrison, 2019

She is inspired by her Native American heritage, her upbringing in Alaska, and Earthworks artists of the 1960s and 1970s.

Athena LaTocha,
Untitled, 2015
sumi and walnut ink & shellac on paper, 124 x 452 inches
Installation view, CUE Art Foundation, 2016

 
 

“One thing that is important is being in the land, really being present there inside the landscape itself. Land is not merely something you look upon or look at from a window.”

LaTocha 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.

Much of her practice is rooted in the direct experience of wilderness, the untrampled landscape, and the unyielding power of nature.

Athena LaTocha
Untitled No. 25, 2015
Sumi and walnut ink and shellac on
paper
18 × 43 ⅞ inches

Athena LaTocha
Untitled, 2015-2016
Sumi and walnut ink and shellac on
paper
48 × 60 inches

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)

LaTocha recently completed Bulbancha (Green Silence), 2019 during a recent residency at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans. This work is currently on view at the New Orleans Museum of Art.
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 Silence), 2019
Ink, Mississippi River mud, Spanish moss on paper
132 x 204 inches

Athena LaTocha, Bulbancha (Green Silence), 2019 (detail)

Her practice is influenced by human intervention upon the earth—a reworking of the natural world.

She feels an affinity for industrial sites, such as quarries, gravel pits, mines, and oil fields—sites where humans harvest the power and energy within the landscape.

Athena LaTocha
Murderers Creek, 2018-2019
ink and earth on paper, lead, steel, wood
signature on verso
44 × 84 × 39 inches

Athena LaTocha, Murderers Creek, 2018-2019, (detail)

Winterkill, 2018-2019 features supple sheets of lead that were hand-molded around a decaying tree on the property of Wave Hill in the Bronx during a 2018 residency, propped up by a large branch she collected from the shores of the Hudson River.

Athena LaTocha
Winterkill, 2018-2019
ink and earth on paper, lead, steel, wood
47 × 101 ½ × 58 inches

Athena LaTocha, Winterkill, 2018-2019 (detail)

Athena LaTocha
Buffalo Prairie (Slow Burn)
2019
Ink, prairie earth, prairie grass on paper
115 x 563 inches (9 feet 7 inches x 46 feet 11 inches)
Installation view, Plains Art Museum, Fargo, ND

 
 
 
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, lead
120 × 288 × 12 inches

 
 
 

Athena LaTocha

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

2020-2021

BRIC, Brooklyn, NY (forthcoming)
Washington and Jefferson College, Washington, PA (forthcoming)
Visual Arts Center, Summit, NJ (forthcoming)

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

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

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

“Fall Preview: The Most Promising Museum Shows and Biennials Around the World,” ARTnews, Fall 2018, page 20.
Northern Light, St. Lawrence University, Spring 1989, back cover.
“SUNY Chancellor To Award Best of SUNY Student Art,” SUNY News, May 24, 2007.
Abatemarco, Michael. “MoCNA – Athena LaTocha: ‘Inside the Forces of Nature’,” Pasatiempo, January 27, 2017.
Brennan, Patrick. “Manahatta Revisabled: The Old Becomes New: New York Contemporary Native Art Movement and The New York School,” resolve40.com, May 2013.
Cockroft, James. “MFA Thesis Exhibition 2007,” SBGradMag, Stony Brook Online Graduate Magazine, April 12, 2007.
_____. “Athena LaTocha’s Sturm und Drang,” SBGradMag, Stony Brook Online Graduate Magazine, November 29, 2006.
D’Agostino, David. “Environmental Painting as Landscape,” The Woven Tale Press, May 05, 2017.
Das, Nanditha. “MFA Thesis 2007,” The Stony Brook Statesman, April 19, 2007.
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, page 31-32.
Green, Christopher. “Beyond Inclusion,” Art in America, February 01, 2019, page 72.
Halperin, Julia. “The Florida island that revived Rauschenberg,” The Art Newspaper, December 2, 2016.
Hayes, Stephanie. “MFA Thesis Exhibit,” The Stony Brook Press, Volume 28, Issue 12, March 28, 2007, page 24.
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. [ill.] [online]
Joy, Christopher and Zachary Keeting. “Athena LaTocha,” Gorky’s Granddaughter. February 19, 2018. [online]
Kinder, Kevin. “Contemporary native art serves as focus of new exhibit at Crystal Bridges,” Fayetteville Flyer, October 05, 2018. [online]
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), page 74–76.
McKay, Serenah. “Arkansas museum spotlights American Indians,” Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette, October 06, 2018. [online]
Martin, Philip. “No reservations, Crystal Bridges’ ‘Art for a New Understanding’ offers different perspectives on American Indians,” Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette, October 21, 2018. [online]
Meier, Allison. "GO Sunset Park: An Emerging Art Community," Hyperallergic, September 10, 2012.
Montiel, Anya. “The Monumental Scrapings of Athena LaTocha,” American Indian Magazine, Summer 2016, page 14-17, 19-20.
Moustakas, Tiffany. “Artists warm to winter workspace,” The Riverdale Press, March 02, 2018.
Pearlman, Ellen. “Everything Old Is New Again: Native Americans and the New York School,” Hyperallergic, April 24, 2013.
_____. New Ventures. Manhattan Public Access Channel 69, 1998.
Romano, Jowy. “Sturm und Drang,” The Stony Brook Press, Volume 28, Issue 5, November 2006, page 19.
Russeth, Andrew. “The Insight from Way Out,” ArtInfo, January 15, 2010.
Schultz, Natalie. “3.75 oz: MFA First-Year Exhibition,” The Stony Brook Press, May 4, 2005.
Skolnik, Lisa. “An Urban Set Piece.” Chicago Tribune Magazine, July 29, 2007, Section 10, page 23.
Wong, Ryan. “Exploring the Terrain of Native American Art,” Hyperallergic, May 19, 2015.

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

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