Leo Villareal

Rice University
> Leo Villareal

Leo Villareal  Villareal 

Radiant Pathway, 2010 
92 light tubes with pixels
BioScience Research Collaborative (BRC) Café

Capital Building Fund Site-Specific Commission

Villareal’s radial arrangement of light tubes at the BRC functions as a type of dynamic map or diagram as colors move across its array. The work explores the compulsion to recognize patterns and the brain’s hard coded desire to understand and make meaning. Its patterns take inspiration from the research of mathematician John Conway who invented the Game of Life, the best-known cellular automata program. The installation animates the cafe and building, and it serves as an iconic, signature form for both the university and the community at large. Light radiating in and out from the center mirrors the function of the university as a gathering place for knowledge that is then released back into the larger community. The 92 LED light tubes each have 20 pixels capable of displaying 16 million different colors. The changing light sequences are never repeated, and Villareal composed them in situ using custom computer software technology.

About the Artist: Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and raised in El Paso, Texas, New York-based artist Leo Villareal is an innovator of the “new digerati” due to his transformative, monumental public light installations. He earned a B.A. at Yale University and a Master of Public Sculpture at the Tisch School of the Arts, Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP), New York University. Driven by a universal vision and cutting-edge software, his works transform LED light tubes into vibrant, dynamic fields of color and possibility. His work is included in many public and private collections, including the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Museum of Modern Art, the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art.