Washington, DC

Leo Villareal


Leo Villareal’s sumptuous and transporting light sculptures are firmly rooted in the artist’s interest in underlying structures and rules, particularly the systems-based theories of mathematician John Conway. For more than a decade, the Yale-trained sculptor has been developing a rich visual vocabulary based on the use of multicolored incandescent, strobe, neon, and LED bulbs. His preferred format is a light-studded circular, square, or rectangular wall-mounted structure fronted with translucent Plexiglas that diffuses the changing patterns of the illumination beneath. The effect is part ’60s psychedelia, part ’70s disco.

Origin, 2006, the sole work in Villareal’s latest show, represents a significant step forward for the artist. A rich, visually complex work of densely sequenced overlapping patterns, it resembles an old theater marquee, with 1,600 equally spaced LEDs on a large base.

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