Rick Guidice

Rick Guidice: The NASA Paintings

New Museum Los Gatos – September 17, 2015 – February 14, 2016

The NASA space settlement paintings were created almost forty years ago by Rick Guidice to illustrate studies and publications of research by NASA Ames Research Center and Stanford University on designing and building living communities in space. At that time, after the Apollo moon landing and while the space shuttle program was under development, space colonies were considered a feasible next step. Proponents suggested that space settlements offered new opportunities for human expansion, profitable natural space resources and abundant solar energy.

Before 3D modeling and computer aided design software, scientists relied upon artists to convey their engineering concepts and visually communicate the possibilities that could exist for humanity beyond Earth. Guidice transformed those intellectual ideas and simple line drawings into visions of the future that not only served the scientific community, but also informed, and continue to inform, popular culture. The exhibit includes paintings that illustrate the infrastructure necessary for building, supplying and powering space colonies. Other paintings depict the actual habitat types proposed during the studies: the Bernal Sphere, physicist Gerard O’Neill’s Double Cylinder, and the Stanford University designed Torus Wheel settlement.

Looking at life inside of the colonies ranges from views of the main habitats with lush suburban landscapes, to the inside of an agricultural module, complete with chickens, sheep and tractors. The space settlements had familiar elements reminiscent of Earth because they were intended for ordinary people, not just highly trained astronauts.

Guidice’s illustrations of life in space shaped our vision of the future and our collective consciousness. Today, private entrepreneurs and companies, the achievements of the International Space Station and the continued endeavors of NASA all contribute to humankind’s quest to settle that last frontier of outer space. What is your vision of the future?

Rick Guidice attended the Academy of Art College in San Francisco and early in his career worked in architectural design and illustration, advertising, and as an editorial illustrator. His work caught the attention of NASA and a fifteen-year relationship began where Guidice produced many full color paintings of various space projects. His interest in architecture and his conceptual abilities have led him into building design. As principal of his own design firm he has designed homes for many of Silicon Valley’s leaders. He also finds time to create travel watercolors, life drawings and plein air oil.

Artist exhibited: Rick Guidice

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