Villarreal takes materials that are common for the construction of houses — such as pink insulation foam, joint compound, latex paint, and spray paint — and gives them a new identity. The objects he makes are depictions of items brought into his home when he was child, and are grouped to create both an interior and exterior version of a domestic environment. The three-dimensional forms create a conversation with his past work as a painter — most objects he makes have a relationship with the wall against which they are placed or hung and others mimic the idea of oil paint’s materiality. Some forms resemble minimal sculpture, leading the viewer to reinvestigate how we perceive the household item.
Michael Villarreal was born in Austin, TX and raised in Lockhart, TX. In 2013, he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Texas State University, and in May 2017 a Master of Fine Arts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has exhibited his work nationally at multiple commercial art galleries and art centers. Among these include: Art Palace Contemporary Art Gallery and Barbara Davis Gallery in Houston, TX, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha, NE, LA Artcore: Brewery Annex Gallery in Los Angeles, CA, and Art + Literature Laboratory in Madison, WI. In 2014, Villarreal was invited for solo exhibition at Art Palace Contemporary Art Gallery in their Project Gallery. He has been in several publications, online and in print, such as Huffington Post for a group exhibition in Los Angeles and in Issue No. 126 of New American Paintings which was release in October 2016. He has participated in several curatorial endeavors such as a show titled Conduit at Tugboat Gallery in Lincoln, NE which featured three artists from three different regions of the nation. Recently, he was awarded with the 39th Mayor’s Arts Awards in Lincoln, NE and the Francis William Vreeland Scholarship Award. In July, he will be an artist in residence at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska City.