Leo Villareal. Digital Campfire
There is an enchanting stillness to Leo Villareal’s color-field light sculptures. When he was an undergraduate student, the artist spent hours staring into the meditative beauty of a Mark Rothko painting in the Yale University Art Gallery.1 Twenty years later, the influence of Rothko’s color field painting appeared in Villareal’s visual manifestation of code. Uninterested in the “‘arm’s race’ of video games and computer graphics” that tends to seek speed and clarity, the artist considered instead, “How few dots can I get?”2 He applied translucent sheets of acrylic to his LED light-grid substructures to diffuse their pixels and sequenced slower, more subtle light movement to a captivating effect. Like looking at what Villareal calls a “digital campfire,” they take the mind on a primordial journey.