Leo Villareal

Complex Simplicity: Investigating the Medium of Light

Date 3/15/10

Affiliation Aritist, New York


Leo Villareal will discuss the unique journey that has taken him from a childhood in West Texas, to frankenstinean experiments in the industrial wastelands of late 80's New Haven, to work in virtual reality at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program. A summer internship at Interval Research in Palo Alto in 1994 brought Villareal to the west coast and introduced him to pioneers in the fields of technology and art. Experiences in the Black Rock Desert shifted his practice completely, revealing to the artist the power and potency of small amounts of information and introducing him to his primary medium, sequenced light. Villareal continues to bring the inanimate to life and find beauty in simple things.

In this talk, Villareal questions the constant race for more megapixels and higher resolution we find ourselves in, asking: Is more better? What strategies can be used to repurpose media technologies? What happens when you add computation to minimalism and abstraction?


Leo Villarealís light sculpture and installations have been presented at museums and institutions in the United States and abroad. His work was included in Visual Music, an important historical survey exhibition organized by the Hirshorn Museum in Washington DC and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Villarealís work is part of the permanent collection of major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo. The San Jose Museum is currently organizing a traveling survey exhibition and catalog to be presented in 2010.

Villareal has exhibited his work in Europe and Asia, including London, Madrid, Istanbul, Seoul, Kagawa and Taipei. The artist has created many large scale, site-specific installations with renowned architects such as Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and in architecturally significant buildings like I. M. Peiís East Building of the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. He has been commissioned by both Federal and State agencies to create public works in locations such as a courthouse in El Paso, Texas and a New York City subway station. Corporations including The Related Companies, Time Warner, Somerset Partners and Kirkpatrick, Lockhart & Gates have acquired Villarealís work.

-- As of 3/15/10

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