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BRIC Announces Fall Exhibition ATHENA LATOCHA: IN THE WAKE OF...


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

BRIC Announces Fall Exhibition ATHENA LATOCHA: IN THE WAKE OF...

BRIC 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 September 30th 2021 - January 9th, 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. BRIC will host a public opening reception for the artist on Wednesday, Sept. 22 from 7:00PM-9:00PM.

Athena LaTocha: In the Wake of... comes on the heels of BRIC's highly lauded Latinx Abstract, a groundbreaking exhibition that explored the enduring legacy of abstraction among Latinx artists. BRIC's Chief Curator 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.

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 will also be collecting 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.

Kristina Newman-Scott, BRIC President, said today:

"As this country continues to grapple with its foundational legacy of racism and Indigenous persecution, BRIC is committed to elevating artists of Native American heritage who explore the complex histories of our communities and the land that we all occupy. I'm thrilled that Athena's work will be presented at BRIC and enable our friends and neighbors to consider Brooklyn's Indigenous past and how we move forward to honor native histories in a meaningful way."

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: In the Wake of... is accompanied by public programs, including a conversation with artist and indigenous art specialist Christopher Green. The full programming schedule will be announced at a later date. An illustrated brochure with a text by scholar Green will accompany the exhibition.

In the Project Room, Karen Miranda Rivadeneira will present The Mountain I am, Urku ñuka kani, an installation comprising video projections, a large-scale ceramic musical instrument and photography. In the video, the artist enacts sumac kawsay, an ancient Quechua term for balanced living with the earth. Taught to the artist by her grandmother, she draws on the air or on the ground, creating impermanent marks made with stones, mud, ice, and branches. Her videos are composites of simple iconographies echoing ancestral pictographs that are universal, ancient, and urgent. These videos along with sound created through her handmade instruments aim to address our intersectionality with the earth, the responsibility to acknowledge the first stewards of this land and the more than human kin.

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