Grant Recipients Grants to Artists Visual Arts 2024

Athena LaTocha

Athena LaTocha stands in front of a stony gray background and looks directly at the camera. She is dressed in a white button up blouse.
Photo courtesy of the artist.
  • 2024 Grants to Artists
  • Visual Arts
  • Visual Artist
  • Born 1969, Anchorage, AK
  • Lives in Peekskill, NY
  • She/Her
  • Additional Information

Artist Statement

Having grown up in Alaska, my understanding of the land was influenced by both the rugged monumentality of the terrain and the impact of the oil and gas industry upon the land. To this day, I feel a natural affinity for places and things that evoke those memories, such as the mountains and deserts of the southwest, and excavation sites and earth-moving equipment found in the industrial landscape.

- December 2023


Athena LaTocha is an artist whose massive works on paper explore the relationship between human-made and natural worlds. She incorporates materials such as ink, lead, iron, earth, and wood, while looking at mark-marking and the displacement of materials caused by industrial equipment and natural events. Informed 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 histories that are rooted in place.

LaTocha’s large-scale installation The Remains of Winter (2022) explores the history of Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery’s landscape as one of continuous movement and alteration, and invites the viewer to consider the ways these shifts and changes might be mourned and memorialized. In the cemetary's Historic Chapel and outdoors on its Battle Hill, LaTocha’s site-specific sculptures are made from trees that once grew at Green-Wood and have been cloaked in thin sheets of lead. The work embraces the distinctive character of the cemetery’s landscape and the roles that both human and natural forces have played in its transformation. 

LaTocha’s work has been exhibited at: the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Galerie Lelong, New York, NY; MoMA P.S.1, Long Island City, New York; Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, Summit, NJ; BRIC House, Brooklyn, NY; and IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe, NM. 

LaTocha has been recognized with the Anonymous Was a Woman Award (2023), the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Pocantico Prize for Visual Artists (2022), the Eitelijorg Museum Contemporary Art Fellowship (2021), and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant (2016).

LaTocha received her M.F.A. from Stony Brook University, her B.F.A. from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and completed additional fine arts studies at The Art Students League of New York.

A long rectangular multimedia painting with black ink, soil, and patches that remain off-white. Three sheets of crinkled metallic grey material are attached in a vertical line towards the right of the painting.

Ozark (Shelter in Place), 2018, sumi and shellac ink, earth from Pea Ridge on paper, and lead, 120" x 288" x 12." Photo by Edward C. Robison III.

A long rectangular multimedia painting with black ink and soil on a white sheet of paper. A thick, crinkled grey strip vertically bisects the painting in imperfect halves, fastened to the paper using copper-colored wire. A long stick with an ink covered end rests against the painting in the middle of the grey strip, extending to the floor.

Murderers Creek, 2018-19, sumi and walnut ink and earth on paper, steel, lead, wood, 44" x 84" x 39".

A rectangular painting with several intentionally torn edges. A hazy, abstract landscape image composed of dark, light, and yellowish green tones, along with lighter blue tones in the top left horizon area.

Bulbancha (Green Silence), 2019, shellac ink, Mississippi River mud, Spanish moss on paper, 132" x 204." Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Endowment. Photo by Etienne Frossard.

A long rectangular painting with dark hues of black, brown, and tan concentrated toward the horizontal edges and bottom, with white and blue toned areas towards the top. Centered and aligned with the top edge of the painting four dark grey, crinkled, metallic sheets are fixed to the front of the painting.

It Came From the North, 2021, shellac ink, soil from the Green-Wood Cemetery, New York City demolition debris, glass microbeads from the NYC DOT on paper, and lead, 112 1/2" x 222" x 6." Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Endowment. Photo by Jason Mandella.

A long rectangular painting with textured sheets of dark grey geological material affixed on the sides, covering a portion of the face of the painting. The painted portion visible in the middle between the two sheets is painted in mottled shades of green that bleed into one another.

The Discovery of Slowness, 2022, shellac ink, silt from a Garrison stream, Hudson Highlands mica on paper, and lead, steel, 46" x 122" x 4." Private collection. Photo by Jason Mandella.

A rectangular painting laid underneath a sheet of dark grey geological material with one horizontal slash near the center. The top layer is offset from the bottom layer, the left and bottom edges of the painting are visible beneath the top layer and through the slash. in the painting. Shades of brown and green meld into one another.

Of Mad and Willful Nature, 2022, shellac ink, Hudson Highlands mica on paper and lead, steel, 50" x 73 1/2" x 3." Photo by Jason Mandella.

An almost square painting in shades of green ink. A dark grey sheet of geological material covers the upper half of the painting, its bottom edge torn and ragged. The lower right corner of the painting is covered by a piece of the same dark grey material.

As Night Devours the World, 2022, shellac ink, silt from a Garrison stream, Hudson Highlands mica on paper, and lead, steel, 65 1/4" x 73" x 4 3/4." Hessel Museum of Art / Marieluise Hessel Foundation. Photo by Jason Mandella.