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November brings “New Weather” to CAM

Renowned artists Diana Al-Hadid, Iva Gueorguieva and Robyn O’Neil are taking their views on the earth’s climate issues to the canvas in the “New Weather” exhibit at the USF Contemporary Art Museum (CAM).

The exhibition brings work together from the U.S. and as far away as Berlin and Paris. David Norr, the exhibition’s chief curator, said in a pamphlet that the exhibit “connotes the changing conditions and atmospheres, which intersect in the artist’s studios.”

Al-Hadid, born in Aleppo, Syria, lives in Brooklyn, New York. Before the CAM, her work was featured in various international exhibitions.

Her sculptures are large – bigger than the average person – and have different architectural elements. She has two sculptures on display at “New Weather” – “Forever (Blank) Matter” and “Edge of Critical Density.”

The steel, fiberglass and gypsum structures of “Edge of Critical Density” appear, at first glance, to be floating.

“I wanted to work with magic and stage magic. It’s almost like a levitating lady,” Al-Hadid said. “I honestly just hope they like it – I just make it. I’m more interested in people’s reactions.”

Gueorguieva is from Bulgaria but lives in Los Angeles. Her paintings and drawings have been in exhibitions throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Each one of Gueorguieva’s seven paintings presented at the “New Weather” exhibition embodies a different emotion, she said.

Gueorguieva’s paintings “A Stage above the Catacombs” and “Seesaw” blend acrylic paint and collage. “Seesaw” has different-sized paint strokes and blends a number of colors together, including pink, black and grey.

“This painting started on the floor and I was just pouring (paint). This crazy pink color started to come out (even though) I was mixing red,” she said. “It was a surprise.”

This piece took Gueorguieva a little over a month to complete and, for her, is an eyeglass into a world of organized chaos. She said the art tells a story, but the story may vary from person to person.

“There is a strange experience of highways and ramps. These are stories that emerge for me. For the viewer, other stories will emerge,” Gueorguieva said. “It’s almost like I have this field, and little by little, characters begin to emerge, like worlds colliding.”

O’Neil, who lives in Houston, is most famous for her drawings of men clad in business suits dying at the hands of nature.

Though themes and lack of colors make her pieces appear dark, she said they have a certain comic aspect.

“They are almost cartoony – really animated,” O’Neil said.

Her drawings are usually large-scale. Many of her works are triple the size of her pieces in “New Weather.”

O’Neil creates her enormous drawings – some in the CAM are as large as 60 inches by 60 inches – by overlapping strokes of a mechanical pencil, a simpler medium.

“I want people to get an idea of fear and threat and that nature is overpowering.” O’Neil said about her drawing “On Sorrow,” which took about three weeks to complete. “It was inspired by Hurricane Ike. I was in a grocery store and they placed a hurricane sign upside down.”

“This is oddly literal, but was at a time in my life when worlds were colliding. My sky became my sea,” said O’Neil, who has 10 drawings on display at CAM.

The event was organized a year and a half ago by Norr, USF Institute for Research in Art Director Margaret Miller and others.

On Friday, the curators and artists held a reception at the CAM for the exhibit. “New Weather” will be on display at the museum until March 6, 2010. Visit for more information.