Monofilament line is usually used to catch fish; it’s not usually thought of as material to make art. Steve Wanna, however, was drawn to the translucent properties of the line and how it interacted with light, and art was born.
Wanna and Dianne Zotter-Mill, two Montgomery County Community College faculty members, with the assistance of MCCC Galleries Director Patrick Rodgers, installed the art piece by Wanna in the foyer of College Hall on the College’s Central Campus in Blue Bell, Pa.
Taking nearly eight hours to install, it is a web of 600, 70-foot strands of orange monofilament fishing line – about 42,000 feet – spanning the 70-foot diagonal length of the foyer. The piece will be on exhibit for an indefinite period of time. They recorded the installation and created a time-lapse video, condensing their eight hours of artistic labor into a minute.
This work was largely inspired by the vast, open space it occupies. The glass façade of the building and the foyer’s 20-foot high ceiling exposes the piece to the interplay of ever-changing light. Heating vents blowing on the monofilament may also introduce an unpredictable element of motion and sound to the piece.
“I wanted to create a work responsive to the conditions of the site, both in construction and material,” said Wanna, an accomplished visual and sound artist. “My primary aim was to interrupt and connect that openness without intruding on it, to create something that would be simultaneously massive in scale yet not readily noticeable.”
Nafis Burton of Bridgeport, Pa., a liberal studies major at the College, went to College Hall on Sunday to study and stopped to take photos of the piece.
"It looks pretty and it's very artistic," Burton said. "It makes you feel good that the College cares about how the campus looks and feels." According to Wanna, “the work is not only inspired by the unique form and conditions of the environment in which it sits, but it can hardly exist outside of it, certainly not in its current form. My hope is that just as the space frames the work, the work itself reframes the space for the viewer.”
Wanna created the plastic brackets that are used to hang the piece using a 3-D printer in the College’s Advanced Technology Center, giving the project a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) flavor.
“It has an incredible presence,” Zotter-Mill said. “It plays with your eyes a little bit, but that is what it’s designed to do.”