May 26—June 25, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 6—8pm
NEW YORK, NY (March 9, 2011) — Jonathan LeVine Gallery is pleased to present Succession, new works by Gaia, in what will be the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. Works in Succession — comprised of drawing, painting and various relief-cut printmaking techniques — will be incorporated into a site-specific installation in the gallery’s project room. Re-creating street scenes as a background setting for his work, Gaia will transform the space, bringing the texture and energy of his urban interventions into the white box environment.
The artist’s chosen pseudonym, Gaia, is a name taken from the primordial Greek goddess personifying the Earth, more universally referred to as Mother Earth or Mother Nature. While he has been known to create portraits of human faces, Gaia’s ambiguous imagery most often depicts totemic creatures with animal heads and human bodies as well as expressive hand gestures. He occasionally fuses the features of different animals together, forming imagined, amalgamated hybrids. These chimeric subjects are filled with Art History references, inspired by various sources including biblical figures, ancient mythology and mystical folklore.
Additional layers of symbolism and interpretation emerge as Gaia’s works are encountered within the context of the urban landscape. Like apparitions, they confront the viewer as oracles with a powerful capacity to address contemporary social and environmental issues concerning consumer culture, consumption and sustainability. The juxtaposition of wild animal imagery pasted onto man-made architecture was a significant choice for the artist because, in his own words: “Having lived most of my life in New York City, I personally felt like I never had a connection to nature; it was so distant and idealistic.”
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Born in 1988 in New York City, Gaia currently divides his time between Brooklyn, New York and Baltimore, Maryland. In 2007, as a senior in High School, Gaia became interested in the growing global street art movement. Drawing influence from contemporary artists such as Swoon and Elbow-toe, he began to paste his artwork on the streets of his native New York. After experimenting locally, it was only a few years before he would expand his imagery to urban spaces in other U.S. cities as well as International locations. In May 2011, Gaia received a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland, with a concentration in printmaking and sculpture. With sophistication beyond his years, the promising young artist’s studio work has been exhibited in galleries in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. His street art has been documented, followed widely online and published in a number of recent publications including Beyond the Street: The 100 Leading Figures in Urban Art.