Working on the floor of an immense studio, Athena LaTocha created In the Wake of … over a 55-foot long expanse of paper, vigorously layering water, ink, soil, and other materials across its surface, and marking it with impressions of rocks and such industrial detritus as metal scraps, concrete bricks, and tire shreds. LaTocha works with a largely abstract language in the elaboration of immersive works that express her profound relationship with the land. She conveys time and space as deeply layered, relentlessly impacted by natural and human forces, and often, by traumatic cultural and social histories.
In contrast to earlier works influenced by natural sites in the wilderness, In the Wake of … responds to a local urban landscape in the throes of change and yet retaining echoes of multiple histories, including indigenous habitation. LaTocha alludes to both the recent and distant past, employing such media as excavated earth from Green-Wood Cemetery; demolition sediment from a construction site in the shadow of BRIC House; and lead casts of rock outcroppings marked with glacial striations; all evidence of passing time on a geological scale.
The exhibition includes an 8-channel soundscape containing recordings made at nearby construction sites, of jack hammers and hydraulic lifts, as well as a live mic capturing the subway traveling below the gallery. The rhythm and movement of these sounds throughout the exhibition space acts as a simulated breath of the city as it undergoes yet another stage in its continual transformation.
The Athena LaTocha: In the Wake of … catalog is now available. Purchase your copy in the gallery or online at this site.
Read about this exhibition in The New York Times: “Her Art Reads the Land in Deep Time” by Siddhartha Mitter.