booth 404

September 17 – 20, 2015


Liminal Gradient

2015, light emitting diodes, computer, custom software, circuitry, wood, plexiglas, 48 x 36 inches, ed: 5. 

ALMA THOMAS_Wind Dancing with Spring Flowers


Wind Dancing with Spring Flowers

1969, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 50 inches. 

SAM GILLIAM_Light Red Clay


Light Red Clay

1970, acrylic on canvas, 45 x 50 inches.




1971, watercolor on folded paper, 20 x 24 inches.

September 10, 2015



September 17-20, 2015
Booth 404

CONNERSMITH. is pleased to present an art historical exhibition of American Abstraction (1957 - 1971) at EXPO CHICAGO. The show features abstract paintings by Washington Color Painters - Alma Thomas, Howard Mehring, Sam Gilliam - and Chicago-born Abstract Expressionist - Norman Bluhm. For this presentation, paintings of extraordinary quality were curated from the Collection of Vincent Melzac. The Gallery has represented the Collection since 2002.

We are especially honored to exhibit Alma Thomas’s signature work, “Wind Dancing with Spring Flowers” (1969). When, in 1972, Thomas made history as the first African American woman to have a solo exhibition at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, “Wind Dancing with Spring Flowers” illustrated the cover of her catalog. The painting was also exhibited in two museum retrospectives of Thomas’s work.

In this art historical context, we are also pleased to present a new light sculpture by digital art pioneer, Leo Villareal. In “Liminal Gradient” (2015) Villareal re-conceptualizes abstract painting and updates the modern aesthetic with digital imaging.


CONNERSMITH. is pleased to feature “Liminal Gradient,” a new light sculpture by digital art pioneer Leo Villareal, in our EXPO CHICAGO presentation.

Villareal creates color-field imagery using the latest LED (light emitting diode) technology to explore pattern, color and tonality in light. Programming each sculpture with custom code that directs hundreds of LEDs, the artist generates vibrant fields of continually changing colors.


As he re-conceptualizes abstract painting, Villareal updates the modern aesthetic with digital imaging. We support this position by presenting Villareal’s work in the art historical context of color-field paintings by Alma Thomas, Sam Gilliam, and Howard Mehring, and abstract expressionist paintings by Norman Bluhm, curated from the Collection of Vincent Melzac.


Leo Villareal’s works are in the following permanent collections: The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; Albright Knox Museum, Buffalo, NY; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS; Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY; Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, FL; Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum, Kagawa, Japan; Jack S. Blanton Museum, Austin, TX; Arario Museum, Seoul, Korea; IFEMA, Madrid, Spain; The Margulies Collection, Miami, FL; and The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA. Villareal also created the world’s largest LED light sculpture, The Bay Lights, a 1.8-mile installation spanning the Bay Bridge in San Francisco.