Named after the eponymous book by Rachel Carson, Under The Sea-wind, is Alexa Horochowski’s debut solo exhibition at Dreamsong. An immersive and poignant dive into ecology, geologically deep time and collective memory, Under The Sea-wind features a monumental installation accompanied by numerous related sculptures. Through unexpected collisions of organic materials, corporeal remnants and manufactured products, this exhibition presents a hallucinatory tableau of objects that one might imagine preserved in a natural history museum of the future.

Predominantly cast in concrete — a ubiquitous material of the built environment, a harbinger of ecological crises and the substance that undergirds humanity's attempts to tame nature — the objects of Under The Sea-wind venture into the surreal to consider dystopic seascapes, speculative chimeras and other possibilities of cross-species hybridity. Like the microplastics that flow through our bloodstreams, an albatross gorged on ocean trash, or a hermit crab sheltering in a discarded soup can, Horochowski traces the uncanny effects of cross-contamination.

Wrack Line (2024) references the threshold where the sea deposits an array of detritus at high tide. Conceived as an archaeological site January 12 - February 23, 2024 for future fossils, Horochowski’s installation presents a multitude of objects atop a bed of steel. A hand grasps a seashell; a discarded gas can bleeds pollutants; plastic bottles accumulate; driftwood is deposited ashore. The installation is animated by moving images that bathe the objects and scale the gallery walls while an immersive sound piece punctuated by the cries of an albatross evokes the dissonance between anthropocentric progress and the natural world’s beleaguered resolve (produced with Ben Pagel and Joe Thoen of Artifact Shore).

While the Earth’s oceans are divided into distinct named regions, there is only one global sea and it is in constant motion. Marine organisms, dissolved gasses, pollutants and waste travel through a system of connected currents, circulating the contents of the Earth’s seawaters on what scientists refer to as the global conveyor belt. Envisioning these swirling substances while imagining the aesthetics of future ruins, Horochowski began developing hybrid forms wherein anthropogenic debris merges with humans, animals, and other organisms.

Several sculptures presented on plinths in steel and concrete cast by the artist occupy the gallery’s back room. In The Mason (2024), the bloated, mournful head of a bearded man is colonized by barnacles and starfish. Recalling a Classical Greek sculpture rendered absurd by a stroke of surrealist juxtaposition, the work expands on notions of hybridity central to the exhibition. Inspired by the myth of Perseus who used Medusa’s slain head to petrify his enemies, La Sirena (2024) depicts the head of a woman with a shell to her ear. Both woman and conch are silenced by sediment and time. Stripped of their echo, a series of cast concrete seashells hang from headphone armatures.

Cast in deeply oxidized bronze from a model dipped in wax, Derelict (2013/2024) evokes the materiality of time in its depiction of a schooner from the Age of Sail, a time in which the dominance of maritime trade and warfare culminated. The frozen strands of Cochayuyo (2014/2024), cast from a bull kelp specimen found on the Pacific coast of Southern Chile, harken to the ocean’s ceaseless flux.

While Alexa Horochowski resides in Minneapolis, her identity and practice are closely tied to the landscape of her childhood in the Patagonia, a region bound by the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Horochowski received her MFA from the University of Michigan (1996). Recent solo exhibitions in Minnesota include the Minneapolis Institute of Art, The Rochester Art Center, The Soap Factory, Franconia Sculpture Park, Nemeth Art Center and Highpoint Center for Printmaking.

Her work has also been exhibited at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Armory Show, NYC; Praxis, New York/Miami; Braga Menéndez Arte Contemporáneo, Buenos Aires; The Drawing Center, NYC; and Monique Meloche, Chicago. Artist residencies include El Basilisco, Argentina; CasaPoli, Chile; The Bemis Art Center, Nebraska; and Forest Island Project, California. Awarded fellowships include the Andy Warhol Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, Bush Fellowship and Jerome Fellowship. She is Professor of Sculpture at St Cloud State University, MN.