Combining digital media and light, artist Leo Villareal explores geometry and spatial perception. For his November/December 2006 solo exhibition at Conner Contemporary Art in Washington, D.C. (his third show at the gallery), the New York-based Villareal presented Origin and Origin (1), light sculptures that use white LEDs, circuitry, and microcontrollers.
Using scientific and mathematical principles as his starting point to investigate the medium of light, viewers are presented with a mesmerizing display of illumination. Origin, the main piece on view, is impressive in its scale--over 6-feet-tall and 26-feet-long. Origin (1) is more modest--approximately 3-foot-square--and is part of an edition of three. For these works Villareal specifically combined physicist Sir Isaac Newton's Laws of Motion, and mathematician John Conway's Game of Life with his own devised computer code to create a series of non-repeating light patterns that subtly make reference in their intensity and speed to everything from the "Big Bang" to the video game Pac Man. "Origin's scale within the gallery will create a sense of immersion," Villareal explains. And that it does as gallery-visitors are immersed in the syncopation of changing light patterns.