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Marsha Mateyka Gallery
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Athena Tacha
"Shapes of Fluidity, photo-environments and sculpture"

February 4 - March 19, 2016

reception for the artist: Saturday, February 6, 4:00-6:00PM

Press Release

Washington Post Review

MudFlow (Vulcanelli, Sicily), 2014
Digichrome print on metallic paper, edition: 3
30 x 60 inches

PetraSand (Jordan), 2011-13
Digichrome print on metallic paper, edition: 3
36 x 60 inches

StoneFlow (Iceland), 2015-16
Digichrome print on metallic paper, edition: 3
30 x 60 inches

PetraWind (Jordan), 2011-16
Digichrome print on metallic paper, edition: 3
30 x 50 inches

GoldenPools (Danakil, Ethiopia), 2015-16
Digichrome print on metallic paper, edition: 3
30 x 60 inches

StepFall (Namibia), 2009
Digichrome print on metallic paper, edition: 3
30 x 40 inches

Rapids, 2006
Digichrome print on metallic paper, edition: 6
24 x 26 inches

WingsGalaxy, 2012-16
wings on black paper
22 x 30 inches

OysterMound, 2015
large oyster shells and hot glue
5.5 x 6 x 7 inches

OysterFlower, 2010
oyster shells and hot glue
5 x 6 x 6 inches

OysterWings, 2010
oyster shells, feathers and hot glue
8 x 7 x 7 inches

LimpetFlower, 2011
limpet shells and hot glue
6 x 7 inches

Available works by Athena Tacha and views of some of her public commissions.

Press Release

Marsha Mateyka Gallery is pleased to present, “Athena Tacha: Shapes of Fluidity, photo-environments and sculpture”.  The exhibition includes recent large photoworks and intimate scale sculptures.  It is the artist’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery.

Athena Tacha has been known nationally for decades for her public, large-scale, site specific projects.  Her numerous public commissions include:
       “Connections” at Franklin Town Park*, Philadelphia, PA, 1981-92
       “Green Acres”, Dept. of Environmental Protection, Newark, NJ, 1985-87
       “Victory Plaza” American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX, 2000-01
       “Muhammad Ali Plaza”, Louisville, KY, 2002-09
       “Bloomingdale’s Plaza with Light Obelisk Fountain”, Bethesda, MD, 2000-09
Athena Tacha belongs to a generation of pioneering artists including Robert Morris, Nancy Holt, Michael Heizer and others, who in the 1970’s “defined the form and the role of public art in relation to space and the need of its users. … The demand for retrieval and replacement of the natural landscape within the urban fabric was a key element in the public sculpture.”...**

In recent years, Athena Tacha has shifted her attention to photoworks and small scale sculptures.  The former were first shown in Washington, DC at her solo exhibition, titled “Small Wonders” in 2006, at the American University Museum, Katzen Center. The works in the current gallery exhibition draw upon her extensive travels, in recent years, to remote locations in Jordan, Syria, Namibia, Iceland and Ethiopia, at the Danakil Depression.  In each instance, her focus is on the dynamic nature of these remote landscapes.  Her current photo-environments are the result of combining numerous photographs from each site, to form a distilled image; one that reveals the impact of wind, water, sand or lava. “Shapes of Fluidity”, as described in her own words…
               Wind, sand and water flow and form Petra.
                Water, wind and sand later dissolve and reshape it.
                Lava flows and congeals into rock, creating Iceland.
                Water and wind blow and reshape its lava stone.
                Lava oozes underwater with miraculous colors
                in Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression.
                Fish swim in water, shells are formed by it.
                Birds soar and dive in the air, shaped by it.
                Flow creates and dominates the universe.
                                                                                         Athena Tacha, 2016
                                                                                         Washington, DC

The artist’s works are in the collections of many major museums including Museum of Modern Art, New York, Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Albright-Knox Museum, Buffalo, the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX.

*This park has more recently been renamed and is now known as Matthias Baldwin Park.

**Tsiara, Syrago, ATHENA TACHA : From Public to Private, 2010, retrospective exhibition      catalogue, pub. Contemporary Art Center, Thessaloniki, Greece, p. 40.


The Washington Post
Style section, March 11, 2016

In the galleries: Nature's serenity
by Mark Jenkins

Athena Tacha

After photographing such diverse locales as Ethiopia, Brazil and Namibia, Athena Tacha constructs collages from overlapping rectangular close-ups. The landscapes, titled “Shapes of Fluidity” at Marsha Mateyka Gallery, chronicle the usually long-term but occasionally sudden effects of wind, water, sandstorms and volcanic flows.

The D.C. artist’s pieced-together pictures, which are not melded with photo-editing software, focus tightly on geologic details. Images of Petra, the canyon city carved from Jordanian sandstone, show only texture and color. Occasionally, a recognizable detail neatly contrasts the near-abstract effect. In a field of Icelandic lava, for example, one sprig of greenery proves that the overwhelmingly gray photos were not shot in black-and-white.

Tacha uses a similar technique with three-dimensional natural objects, mostly derived from birds and aquatic mollusks. A flock of feathers seems ready to take to the air, expressing the idea of flight without the creature that can actually do it. Glued together, an assortment of limpet shells resembles a blossom, but one with hard-edged petals. Where Tacha’s collages offer unexpected views of real places, her witty sculptures allow organic relics to impersonate something else entirely.

Athena Tacha: Shapes of Fluidity: Photo-environments & Sculpture On view through March 19 at Marsha Mateyka Gallery, 2012 R St. NW. 202 328-0088.  

In the galleries: Nature's serenity

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