New installation by street artist Gaia opens at Rice Gallery Sept. 26

Rice University Art Gallery’s fall season will open Sept. 26 with a new installation by street artist Gaia. His work will combine painting, drawing, printmaking and collage to express a larger-than-life impression of Houston’s sprawling urban landscape and increasingly international demographic.

An image from Gaia's 2012-13 "Remington Project." (Photo by Gaia)

Gaia’s installation will be on view through Dec. 8. An opening celebration Sept. 26 from 5 to 7 p.m. will feature a gallery talk by the artist at 6 p.m. Gaia will also speak at a luncheon reception Sept. 27 from noon to 1 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.

Gaia is part of an international network of self-identified street artists who view themselves as activists and use their work as a way to draw attention to and stimulate renewal of deteriorating urban neighborhoods. These individuals do not think of themselves as graffiti writers, nor do their mediums fit neatly into one genre; street artists may use large-scale prints, paint or photographs to create their interventions. Gaia is part of a local collective of Baltimore artists called “Wall Hunters,” whose “unsanctioned” art seeks to identify, embarrass and sometimes infuriate absentee landlords whose vacant buildings embody what the Baltimore Sun recently called “one of Baltimore’s most visible and long-standing problems.”

In creating his installation, Gaia will employ his drawing skills as well as information and impressions gleaned during his site visit that included tours of different parts of the city and meetings with Rice faculty members Stephen Fox, lecturer of architecture, and Stephen Klineberg, professor of sociology and co-director of Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research; former Rice students and Rice Gallery summer interns Jessie Anderson ’13 and Emily Nichol ’13; Linda Shearer, director of Project Row Houses; and Danielle Burns, consulting curator at Houston’s Gregory School.

Born in New York City, Gaia holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in interdisciplinary sculpture from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Recent museum commissions include “Gaia and the Girl Scouts: A Live Painting Project” (2012) at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, in which Gaia created a large-scale on-site portrait of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts, to celebrate the organization’s 100th anniversary, and “Remington Project” (2012-13), an installation for the Baltimore Museum of Art. He curated “Open Walls,” a street art project for Baltimore’s Station North Arts and Entertainment District for which street artists from around the world contributed to an outdoor mural exhibition. Solo exhibitions include Maxwell Colette Gallery and Pawn Works, Chicago; Jonathan Levine Gallery, New York City; Gallery Heist, San Francisco; and Irvine Contemporary, Washington, D.C.

Gaia has had residencies at Ewha Women’s University in Seoul, South Korea, and at Acrylic Walls in

Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa. Gaia lives and works in Baltimore and Brooklyn, N.Y.

The Rice Gallery, located on the first floor of Sewall Hall, is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on Thursdays, when the gallery stays open until 7 p.m. On Sundays the gallery is open from noon to 5 p.m. The gallery is closed on Mondays and university holidays.

For more information on the installation, visit http://ricegallery.org or call 713-348-6069.

About Jeff Falk