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BRIC Announces Athena LaTocha: In the Wake of... Fall Exhibition With Largest-Ever Single Work Presented at BRIC House

Sep 21, 2021 • 12:00 AM

BRIC Announces

Athena LaTocha: In the Wake of... 

Fall Exhibition With Largest-Ever Single Work 

Presented at BRIC House

LaTocha’s monumentally-scaled works explore the tenuous relationships between natural landscapes and human-made urban environments

On View: September 30 - January 9, 2022

(BROOKLYN, NY — September 14, 2021) BRIC, a leading contemporary, multi-disciplinary arts and media institution anchored in downtown Brooklyn, announced today a major fall exhibition focusing on the work of New York-based artist Athena LaTocha (Hunkpapa Lakota/Ojibway). 

On view at BRIC House (647 Fulton) from Sept. 30 to Jan. 9, 2022, Athena La Tocha: In the Wake of... will interrogate the parallels between natural and urban environments, and the power and fragility found within each of them. LaTocha’s work explores innovative storytelling about land and its habitation, how to render it abstractly, and how to create a multimedia work that layers history and change. 

LaTocha’s process is site-specific; each project reflecting the environment in which it is made, both in terms of composition and materiality. Often working on a large scale, she creates a sense of immersion in these environments, while responding to their often traumatic cultural and social histories. 

With this exhibition, the artist will present a monumentally scaled drawing – the largest single work ever presented at BRIC House—created with ink washes on paper, lead, and other materials. This 55 x 17-foot-long work responds to the local urban landscape, one that has radically changed over the decades and yet, holds echoes of past histories and peoples including indigenous habitation. Athena LaTocha: In the Wake of… will contain material traces of this environment, including earth and demolition sediment collected locally and influences of glacial striations found in New York City parks. Creating this work with ink and these materials, LaTocha builds expressive layers that suggest history as layered and evolving and that, in sum, evoke broad concepts — awe of nature and concern for the degradation of the environment, the weight of histories on contemporary existence, and how we respond to the world around us at this moment in time.  

LaTocha has also collected sound from construction sites, hammers drilling, hydraulics and creating an 8-channel soundscape in the gallery. The rhythm and movement of the sound throughout the space will provide a simulated breath of the city. 

LaTocha’s work will be on view during the same exhibition cycle as Karen Miranda-Rivadeneira: The mountain I am, Urku ñuka kani, BRIC’s Project Rom exhibition that explores indeginious ways of relating to the land through video projection, ceramics, and sound. These two shows -- both exploring indigenous concepts related to the land and environment -- come on the heels of BRIC’s highly lauded Latinx Abstract, a groundbreaking exhibition that explored the enduring legacy of abstraction among Latinx artists. Elizabeth Ferrer, author of the recently published Latinx Photography in the United States: A Visual History, serves as a curator of Athena LaTocha: In the Wake of... alongside co-curator Jenny Gerow, who also curated Karen Miranda-Rivadeneira: The mountain I am, Urku ñuka kani.

Michael Liburd, BRIC Board Chair, said today:

“BRIC has an enduring legacy of showcasing artists of diverse backgrounds who speak truth to power and help us better examine our collective relationship with the world around us. Our fall contemporary art exhibitions do just that, by encouraging us to interrogate our relationship with the natural world and our impact on the landy that we occupy. BRIC will continue to be a leading voice in these conversations and elevate artists whose work can serve as important catalysts for change in the years ahead.”

Elizabeth Ferrer, BRIC Chief Curator, said today: 

“With her ambitious, often monumentally scaled work, Athena LaTocha acts as a powerful voice among contemporary artists. Working with a language that is largely abstract, she evokes the land, the environmental crisis and existential issues of human existence, all the while, creating immersive spaces that contemplate our own place in the world.”  

Athena LaTocha has exhibited her work across the United States including at such prominent venues 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; and the New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, Louisiana. Recent solo exhibitions include those at JDJ | The Ice House, Garrison, New York; the Plains Art Museum, Fargo, North Dakota; and the MacRostie Art Center, Grand Rapids, Minnesota. In 2019, she was an artist in residence at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. LaTocha is the recipient of the prestigious Eiteljorg Fellowship in 2021, and of grants and fellowships from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, Wave Hill, and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. She received her BA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from Stony Brook University, New York.

Athena LaTocha was recently announced as an artist selected for the prestigious MoMA PS1 2021 Greater New York Exhibition.

Athena LaTocha: In the Wake of... is accompanied by public programs, including a conversation with artist and indigenous art specialist Christopher Green. An illustrated brochure with a text by scholar Green will accompany the exhibition. The exhibition has been made possible in part thanks to a generous grant from the Harpo Foundation.