LEO VILLAREAL at Conner Contemporary Art

LEO VILLAREAL at Conner Contemporary Art


November 1, 2006


November 3 – December 22, 2006

Conner Contemporary Art is delighted to present Origin, a new digital light sculpture by media artist Leo Villareal in his third solo exhibition with the gallery.

To create this new work, Villareal integrated physicist Issac Newton’s Laws of Motion into his own computer code, augmenting his earlier explorations of rule-based cellular automata programs that were inspired by mathematician John Conway’s Game of Life. By applying principles of physics, the artist has increased the complexity of his simulated worlds. As the elements move within the large matrix of white LED’s (light emitting diodes),Villareal’s encompassing patterns evoke stars swirling in space and at other passages biological interactions deep within the body. Lively interactions between objects in Origin’s matrix generate visual stimuli pulsing with energy suggestive of specific behavior and personality.

“I am very inspired by essential questions like ‘How does life begin?’” Villareal explains, referencing both studies in the birth of the universe as well as cellular processes such as fertilization and cell division in his patterning. “I liked the minimal feel of my last show Horizon, here in 2004, yet the experience of the new piece will be like seeing a very zoomed up view of my worlds. Origin’s scale within the gallery will create a sense of immersion, like being in a giant microscope or scientific instrument,” comments the artist on the relationship of the new work to his earlier installation.

Though the organic quality of these emergent patterns elicits an intuitive sense of familiarity, Villareal imparts, “Origin will never repeat the exact same sequence. A random combination of layering is constantly being presented. I enjoy not knowing what is going to happen and being constantly surprised.” The artist anticipates, “This spontaneity will play on the viewer’s brain’s hard-coded compulsion to pattern recognize, synchronize and create order from incoming stimulus. Through repeated viewing, individual patterns and elements will become familiar but the overall flow of the piece will be infinite and ever changing.”

Villareal’s work is currently on view in Young American Artists at Arario Gallery, Seoul, Korea. Recent exhibitions include: Visual Music 1905-2005, The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC and Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Extreme Abstraction, The Albright Knox Museum of Art, Buffalo, NY and All –Digital, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OH, Greater New York 2005, PS 1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, NY and Fiction: New Vision in Contemporary Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei.

There will be an opening night reception Friday, November 3rd from 6-8pm. The artist will be in attendance.

The gallery is also pleased to announce Discuss V: Leo Villareal in conversation with Molly Donovan, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

Going beyond the typical artist’s talk format, Discuss events pair gallery artists in conversation with their peers, outside curators and collectors concerning the current exhibit and their artistic practice. This season, Discuss conversations are available exclusively via mp3 download on our new website @ http://www.connercontemporary.com/.

Conner Contemporary Art is located at 1730 Connecticut Ave., NW, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20009.

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm and by appointment. For further information and visuals contact Leigh Conner or Karyn Miller at 202-588-8750 or info@connercontemporary.com

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November 1, 2006

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