ARTIST STATEMENT

Leo Villareal's work is focused on stripping systems down to their essence to better understand the underlying structures and rules that govern how they work. He is interested in lowest common denominators such as pixels or the zeros and ones in binary code. Starting at the beginning, using the simplest forms, Villareal begins to build elements within a framework. The work explores not only the physical but adds the dimension of time combining both spatial and temporal resolution. The resulting forms move, change, interact and ultimately grow into complex organisms that are inspired by mathematician John Conway's work with cellular automata and the Game of Life. 

Villareal seeks to create his own sets of rules and central to his work is the element of chance. The artist's goal is to create a rich environment in which emergent behavior can occur without a preconceived outcome. He is an active participant in the process through the careful selection of compelling sequences. These selections are then further refined and layered through simple operations such as addition, subtraction and multiplication. 

Parameters like opacity, speed and scale are also manipulated through the artist's custom software, creating compositions that are displayed in random order and for a random amount of time. Ultimately, the visual manifestation of code in light is at the core of Villareal's interest.

BIOGRAPHY

Villareal has created many site specific works including: Light Matrix for the Auckland Theater Company, in Auckland, New Zealand; Volume (Frisco),  at the Dallas Cowboy’s Headquarters in Frisco, Texas; Buckyball at The NorthPark Center in Dallas, TX; 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.

On March 5, 2013 Villareal inaugurated The Bay Lights, a monumental 1.8-mile-long installation of 25,000 white LED lights on San Francisco’s Bay Bridge which has since become a permanent installation.

In December of 2016 the Illuminated River Foundation announced the selection of Villareal’s artistic vision, for London’s 15 bridges spanning the River Thames.


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

2019

Instance, The Armory Show, New York, NY

2018

Escape Velocity, Pace Gallery, Hong Kong

2017

Leo Villareal, Pace Gallery, New York, NY

Particle Chamber, Moody Center for The Arts, Rice University, Houston TX

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

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 


 
Star Ceiling , 2019  Temporary site-specific installation: The Armory Show 2019, New York, NY

Star Ceiling, 2019

Temporary site-specific installation: The Armory Show 2019, New York, NY

 
Point Cloud , 2019  Site-specific installation: Moscone Center, San Francisco, CA

Point Cloud, 2019

Site-specific installation: Moscone Center, San Francisco, CA

 
Infinite Bloom , 2017  Site-specific installation: Amorepacific Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea

Infinite Bloom, 2017

Site-specific installation: Amorepacific Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea

 
Light Matrix (Auckland) , 2016  Site-specific installation: Auckland Theatre Company, Auckland, NZ

Light Matrix (Auckland), 2016

Site-specific installation: Auckland Theatre Company, Auckland, NZ

 
The Bay Lights , 2013  Site-specific installation: The Bay Bridge, San Francisco, CA

The Bay Lights, 2013

Site-specific installation: The Bay Bridge, San Francisco, CA

 
Buckyball , 2012  Temporary site-specific installation: Madison Square Park, New York, NY

Buckyball, 2012

Temporary site-specific installation: Madison Square Park, New York, NY

 
Cosmos , 2012  Site-specific installation: Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Cosmos, 2012

Site-specific installation: Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

 
Multiverse , 2008  Site-specific installation: The National gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Multiverse, 2008

Site-specific installation: The National gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

 
Threshold (1801K) , 2008  Site-specific installation: 1801 K Street, Washington, D.C.

Threshold (1801K), 2008

Site-specific installation: 1801 K Street, Washington, D.C.

 
Microcosm , 2007  Site-specific installation: Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS

Microcosm, 2007

Site-specific installation: Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS