Steve Wanna: A Vast Expanse

On View: May 31 - August 20, 2023

Truland Gallery, Lower Level

An interactive soundscape and light installation, Steve Wanna’s A Vast Expanse is inspired by the phenomenon known as the event horizon, the border between a black hole and the surrounding universe. As an environment that is utterly hostile to life, the black hole lies beyond the reach of direct human experience. Wanna’s installation acts as a poetic reinterpretation of that unknowable experience.

Most black holes are formed after a large star is destroyed in a supernova explosion. The remnants of the star collapse but, as the surface of the star approaches the event horizon, time within the collapsing star stands still. The star is frozen in time mid-collapse, becoming a mass of matter so dense that nothing, not even light, can escape.

The visual element of Wanna’s installation is deceptively simple. A single line of light emerges from all sides of the space, becoming a visual focal point that subtly shifts the viewer’s experience of physical space. The soundscape of the work is generated live and partly driven by ambient and environmental noise picked up by a microphone in the space. Rather than a simple soundtrack, it is as if the sound in the environment is being transformed by the characteristics of the space itself. The combined aural and visual elements transform the viewer’s physical experience of the gallery, inviting them to imagine an unknowable environment, outside of time.

Steve Wanna: A Vast Expanse takes place as part of MoCA Arlington’s SOLOS 23-24, a series of solo exhibitions by artists based in the Mid-Atlantic taking place at the Museum throughout 2023 and 2024. The exhibitions were selected from an open call by a jury that included artist Nekisha Durrett, Betsy Johnson, assistant curator, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and Jova Lynne, director, Temple Contemporary, Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Temple University.

b. 1976, Lebanon
Lives and works in Mt. Rainer, MD

Steve Wanna is a multi-disciplinary sound and visual artist whose work includes music, sound design for dance collaborations, sculpture, installation, photography, and works for mixed media. His work showcases the hidden, often ignored beauty he finds in chaotic and seemingly random phenomena. Abstract, experimental, and multimedia, his work is inspired by science, nature, and philosophy, often incorporating elements of controlled randomness—uncertainty is built into the process.

Born and raised in Lebanon, Wanna immigrated to the US with his family as a teenager. He holds a doctorate in Music Composition from the University of Maryland. Wanna’s works have been presented at venues and galleries at home and abroad. Recent exhibitions include a 2-person show at the Delaware Contemporary title Inquiry: At The Intersection of Curiosity, which featured an installation of eight sound sculptures from his ongoing series Inner Spaces, and a solo show at Touchstone Gallery in Washington, DC.

Related Events

Art After Hours
Friday / June 2 / 5pm-8pm

Artist Talk: Steve Wanna
Saturday / July 8 / 2pm

Steve Wanna: A Vast Expanse press coverage
In the Galleries: Day & Wanna
The Washington Post

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