Though prints are usually thought of as the product of a fixed matrix—carved woodblocks, engraved plates—the history of printmaking is also littered with malleable matrices: the smooth glass of Degas’ monoprints, the hand of Henri-Charles Guérard’s monkey, the body of David Hammons, among thousands of others. Alexa Horochowski’s Vortex Drawings operate within that tradition, but with a cacophonous twist.
Put simply, these wall-size works are composed of marks made by bits of pigment-shrouded garbage, picked up and dropped by wind. Working with Highpoint Editions in Minneapolis, Horochowski set up eight barrel fans in a wide circle around a large sheet of paper, or vellum, or Tyvek. In the center she piled man-made detritus—polystyrene cups, packing peanuts, aluminum cans and plastic bottles—that had been coated with transferrable materials such as graphite, ink and oil. Then she switched on the fans. Together they created a localized gyre of moving air that lifted the inked-up garbage into a cloud of erratically spinning junk. As pieces fell and rose again, they deposited traces on the surface below. (A video of the making of one of the drawings can be seen at https://vimeo.com/160134446)