Bio

Biography

  Leo Villareal's work focuses on stripping systems down to their essence to better understand the underlying structures governing how they work. He is interested in lowest common denominators such as pixels, and zeros and ones in binary code. The visual manifestation of the code in light is at the core of the artist's interest. 
  Recent exhibitions include, Spacetime, a solo show at Fused Space in San Francisco, CA. Currently, Villareal’s work, Cylinder II is part of LIGHTSHOW, a traveling international exhibition organized by the Hayward Gallery in London and currently on view in Santiago, Chile through September 2016.   
  Villareal has completed many site specific works including, Volume at the Dallas Cowboy’s Headquarters in Frisco, Texas, Buckyball at The Exploratorium in San Francisco, California, Light Matrix at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Volume (Renwick), for the Renwick Gallery at Smithsonian in Washington DC, Radiant Pathways, Rice University in Houston, Texas; Cosmos, at the Johnson Museum, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; Multiverse, The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Diagonal Grid, Borusan Center for Culture and Arts, Istanbul, Turkey; Stars, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, New York, and Hive, for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority at the Bleecker Street subway station in Manhattan.  Villareal's work is in the permanent collections of many museums including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY;  Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum, Kagawa, Japan;  Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. 
  In January of 2016, Villareal re-opened The Bay Lights, a monumental 1.8 mile long installation of 25,000 white LED lights as a permanent installation on San Francisco’s Bay Bridge. He is currently set to complete an installation called, Light Matrix for the Auckland Theater Company, in Auckland, New Zealand.  

 

Artist Statement

My work is focused on stripping systems down to their essence to better understand the underlying structures and rules that govern how they work. I am interested in lowest common denominators such as pixels or the zeros and ones in binary code. Starting at the beginning, using the simplest forms, I begin to build elements within a framework. The work explores not only on the physical but adds the dimension of time combining both spatial and temporal resolution. The forms move, change, interact and ultimately grow into complex organisms. Inspired by mathematician John Conway's work with cellular automata and the Game of Life, I have sought to create my own sets of rules. Central to the work is the element of chance. My goal is to create a rich environment in which emergent behavior can occur without a preconceived outcome.

I believe in being an active participant, serving as editor in the process through the careful selection of compelling sequences. These selections are then further refined through combination with other sequences through simple operations such as addition, subtraction and multiplication.

The sequence's opacity, speed and scale can all be manipulated through custom software. Ultimately, complex compositions are formed and then displayed in random order and for a random amount of time in the final artwork. The visual manifestation of the code in light is my core interest.

 

Artist CV

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1994 New York University, M.P.S. Tisch School of the Arts, Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP)

1990 Yale University, B.A.

Solo Exhibitions

2016

Spacetime, Fused Space, San Francisco, CA

2014

Buckyball, Sandra Gering Gallery, New York, NY

2013

Digital Sublime, Miles C. Horton Jr. Gallery, Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

2012
New Works, Conner Contemporary Art, Washington, DC

2011
Volume, Gering & López Gallery, New York, NY

2010

Leo Villareal: Survey, San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA, traveling to the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS, Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV, Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah, GA, and Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison, WI
 Leo Villareal: Recent Works, Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, FL
San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA

Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, FL

2009
 Galeria Javier Lopez, Madrid, Spain

2008
 National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Conner Contemporary Art, Washington, DC

2007
Gering and Lopez Gallery, New York, NY

2006
 Conner Contemporary Art, Washington, DC 

2005
 Galeria Javier Lopez, Madrid, Spain
Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA 

2004
 Sandra Gering Gallery, NY
Conner Contemporary Art, Washington, DC 

2003
Finesilver Gallery, San Antonio, TX 

2002
 Sandra Gering Gallery, NY
Conner Contemporary Art, Washington, DC 

 

Cosmos, 2012 white LEDs, custom software, electrical hardware Site specific installation: Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Cosmos2012

white LEDs, custom software, electrical hardware
Site specific installation: Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY


Origin, 2006  LEDs, Custom software & electrical hardware, Plexiglas, steel 80 x 320 x 6 inches Installed: Time Warner, New York, NY

Origin2006

 LEDs, Custom software & electrical hardware, Plexiglas, steel

80 x 320 x 6 inches

Installed: Time Warner, New York, NY


Buckyball, 2016 LEDs, custom software & electrical hardware, metal armature, custom base Installed: Exploratorium, San Francisco, CA

Buckyball, 2016

LEDs, custom software & electrical hardware, metal armature, custom base

Installed: Exploratorium, San Francisco, CA


Untitled (1801K), 2008 LEDs, custom software & electrical hardware, glass 180 x 8 feet Commissioned by Somerset Partners

Untitled (1801K), 2008

LEDs, custom software & electrical hardware, glass

180 x 8 feet

Commissioned by Somerset Partners


Untitled, 2015 LEDs, custom software & electrical hardware, Plexiglas 24x36 inches

Untitled, 2015

LEDs, custom software & electrical hardware, Plexiglas

24x36 inches


Primordial, 2014 LEDs, custom software & electrical hardware, Plexiglas 25.625 x 25.625 x 5 inches

Primordial, 2014

LEDs, custom software & electrical hardware, Plexiglas

25.625 x 25.625 x 5 inches