“Immersive experience that appeals to multiple senses—and is overtly distinct from the ordinary world—has a wonderful power of awaking ideas in the mind of a viewer,” says mixed-media artist Steven Pestana. He produces powerful sculptures and enveloping installations, through which he takes a poetic, metaphysical approach to exploring the complexity of the natural world and human life. Combining science, philosophy, and fantasy, he works with earthly materials like coal, gold, and salt, and symbolic shapes like hexagons and circles. His resulting visual puzzles reference thinkers, poets, and artists throughout the ages, as well as scientific theories and experimentation. The “Complexity Theory,” which explains how complex forms derive from elemental substances, is among the recurring themes in his works, as in Duration: Etheric Periodicity I (2013), featuring four pyramidal blocks of steel emerging from a bed of salt.