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Press Release


May 15 - June 26, 2004 


Conner Contemporary Art is pleased to present the digital light sculpture of New York based media artist Leo Villareal in his second solo exhibition in Washington, DC. 


The exhibition will feature Horizon, a 24' installation of nine glowing tubes of light. Each plexiglass tube is filled with red-green-blue LED's (light emitting diodes) that are individually modulated, producing a palette of over 16 million different colors. Horizon is based on the artist's current examination of materials and the continued exploration color, form and movement through his own custom software. The new modulations create a mesmerizing temporal abstraction. 


Inspired by mathematician John Conway's Game of Life, Villareal's software utilizes a set of rules that govern autonomous agents within a matrix. As the agents explore their terrain and encounter one another, a complex system emerges, visually manifesting a larger organism at work. At times, the resulting abstractions resemble the low-resolution graphics of early video games, while at other times; the motion suggests something more organic, like the shimmering surface of water. The layering of multiple systems manifests in hypnotic optical effects that push and pull the picture plane. 


Since introducing Villareal's work to DC 1.5 years ago, Villareal has completed projects at PS 1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, NY, Joshua Tree National Park, Twentynine Palms, CA, Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, NY, as well as a riverside installation for the city of Toulouse, France. Recently, Villareal was honored with the commission for a permanent, site-specific installation at the new Federal Courthouse in El Paso, TX. Susan Harrison, Director of Art in Architecture for the General Services Administration program explains: 


"We are delighted that digital sculptor Leo Villareal has accepted the commission to create a work of art for the new U.S. courthouse … Mr. Villareal was selected for this commission because of the similarities of his aesthetic inquiries with those of renowned architect Antoine Predock. While of different generations, both are visual alchemists, distilling and transforming the light, atmosphere, geography and cultural history of the Southwest into unprecedented work." 


Villareal's work is currently on view in OPTIMO: Manifestations of Optimism in Contemporary Art  (with Martin Creed, Takashi Murakami, Emily Jacir, Adam Pendleton and others) @ Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, TX through June 27th and The Collector's Cabinet: For Marsha at Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA. 


Upcoming exhibitions include: Visual Music 1905-2005, a historic survey exhibition organized by curators Kerry Brougher and Judith Zilczer of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC and Jeremy Strick and Ari Wiseman of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA. Opening February 2005 at LA -MOCA, the exhibition will travel to the Hirshhorn in June 2005. The artist's first European solo exhibition opens @ Galeria Javier Lopez, Madrid, Spain in November 2004. 


The gallery is pleased to announce the publication of Bulbox 3.0, Villareal's third digital multiple. Based on the matrix for SuperCluster (PS 1 ), this energetic work measures 9 x 9 x 3 inches and is released in an edition of 25. Bulbox 3.0 is co-published with Sandra Gering Gallery, NY. 


There will be a reception for the artist Saturday, May 15th from 6-8pm. Artist in attendance.