Having been born and raised in Paris, France, David Gista is a “true Parisian,” though he’s been a resident of Chicago for the past six years. At 42, Gista is part of the new generation of avant-garde French painters. Having studied art at the “Ecole des Beaux Arts”, Gista combines his classical fine arts training with his conception of modernity, and a running commentary on contemporary life with oils and acrylics on traditional and bright colored cloth canvas.
Graduating in 1990 with the equivalent of a Masters Degree, Gista won a prestigious award at the graduate show. By 1993, Gista began exhibiting his work with his first one-man show in Paris. Discovered in 1995, by the internationally recognized Darthea Speyer Gallery, who also represents Ed Paschke and Leon Golub, Gista’s professional career was established. During that same period of time he received one of the most important awards for emerging painters, the “prix de Vitry,” which means the prize of Vitry (name of city) in French. His career continued to flourish in France where he participated in a variety of solo and group shows.
During his initial visit to Chicago in 1996, he met Gary Marks—and in 1997 held his first one-man show in the United States at the Gary Marks Gallery and received generous press coverage in the Chicago media. He also participated in a group exposition at Chicago’s Zolla-Lieberman Gallery, as well as exhibited his work in Hamburg, Germany, where he established strong connections and increased representation with galleries and other institutions.
Through the Darthea Speyer Gallery connection, Gista was invited by Ed Pashke to serve as a guest speaker/lecturer at Northwestern University. Since then he was one of twelve featured artists as part of Chicago Artist’s Month and had solo exhibitions at The University Club of Chicago, The Union League Club of Chicago, Duke University, and St. Mary’s University.
In 2001, Gista submitted a proposal to Accor, the parent company of the Hotel Sofitel, to create 274 large-sized digital paintings for their newest hotel built in downtown Chicago. The concept was accepted, and Gista worked for almost a year to complete the project where he combined his drawing, painting, and photographic abilities with the use of digital technology and where his work can still be seen.
Mornea Gallery in Evanston held a one-man show of Gista’s work entitled “Presidents, Etc.” in 2004.Known for his “soul bags,” a form of painting on cloth that verges on sculpture, Gista displayed oversized bags featuring presidential candidates John Kerry and George Bush, in recognition of the previous election. Other featured “soul bags” and paintings included former Presidents Clinton, Reagan, Washington, Jackson, and Lincoln.Images were chosen based on their iconic resonance.
Presidents Etc… was followed by two one-man Gista shows. The first show, October 2004, was held at The University of Illinois in Chicago and featured a variety of canvasses. The second show, November 2004, was held at the Galerie Friedland Rivault located in the Marais District in Paris, France. The show was entitled, “Series Noir”, inspired by film noire and the universe of fictional crime stories.
March of 2005, Gista was part of a group show called Aparté, which featured works of several artists from Europe and Chicago, including Joan Miro and Zoran Music.The event was sponsored by ThinkArt and Galerie Friedland Rivault.
Aparté was followed by a group show entitled, “Silence en Reve” in May of 2005 at Galerie Friedland Rivault.The work was inspired by the relationship between film and paintings.
During the summer of 2005, as part of the Mayor’s effort to beautify the City of Chicago for the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s; Gista designed, with the assistance of area high school students, a 22-foot by 7-foot mural of Chicago’s service industry workforce. The mural was painted on the floor of Terminal 2 at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The multi-colored mural was painted in acrylic and the installation will remain during the reconstruction of the terminal.
In June of 2006 Gista had a one-man show entitled “Stranger in a Strange Land” exhibited at the Thomas Masters Gallery in Chicago.
December of 2005, Gista was part of a group show at The Thomas Masters Gallery, entitled “Blue Show”, which featured 29 artists from around the world. This past February of 2006, Gista was also featured as part of a group show called Go at Galerie Friedland Rivault.
Gista maintains his global exposure and continues to be represented in Paris, France by the Galerie Friedland Rivault and in Chicago by Thomas Masters Gallery.
His life and work have been featured on WTTW-TV’s Art Beat, WGN-TV’s Chicago’s Very Own with Jane Boal, and WBEZ-FM’s interview by Victoria Lautman, as well as articles in The Chicago Sun-Times, Reader, Pioneer Press, The Daily Northwestern, and the Internet.
David Gista resides in Chicago as well as in Paris, France.