Metaphysics is a visual meditation on the transformative nature of human perception inspired by classical philosophy, archaic Hermetic sciences, the emancipatory aspirations of the avant-garde, and contemporary digital/New Media practices. These works reflect two worlds: a thoroughly alien landscape of the inner life, and a reframing of the rhetorical devices that decide what type of knowledge is generally acceptable.
Collectively, the works comprising Metaphysics form an elaborate system describing how we experience the universe, and how that process, in turn, shapes and transforms our world. The project’s imagery embodies several distinct, yet visually cohesive languages to explore this multifaceted process. Craft-based techniques seamlessly meld with next generation technologies, uniting traditional wood and metalwork, casting, and analogue media alongside electronics, digital rendering, and fabrication.
Revisiting Early Modern scientific and Hermetic imagery, Metaphysics reappraises the history of how we understand our place in, and connection to, the universe. At each step, history, process, and concept feed back into one another: a complex system subtly evolving, leaving artifacts born of the inherent limitations of content, medium, and the artist’s own role in the process. This is personal, non-didactic work speaking from the voids of symbolic rupture, rather than any conventional vocabulary. My hope is that it might mirror the power that we all have to change our world, simply by shifting our perception.
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We first encountered Steven Pestana’s work earlier this year during Swell at Grin. I was struck by the use of forms that seemed steeped in alchemical and hermetic symbology, yet felt contemporary and clean. This visual language became more broad as I have delved deeper into his work, creating a density that feels like the intersection of mythology and critical theory. A recent graduate of RISD’s MFA program, I expect to see Steven’s work popping up quite a few places this next year.