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New Weather

 

New Weather
Diana Al-Hadid, Robyn O’Neil and Iva Gueorguieva

November 6, 2009 – March 6, 2010
USF Contemporary Art Museum

New Weather brings together the monumental sculptures of Diana Al-Hadid, the turbulent paintings of Iva Gueorguieva, and the enigmatic drawings of Robyn O’Neil. Their works explore the atmospheres and forces, which characterize our time, presenting us with an apt metaphor for the unpredictability of a rapidly changing world. Curated by IRA Chief Curator David Louis Norr; organized by USFCAM.

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New Weather

To use the term “new” to describe anything related to art often starts trouble, or at least posits a healthy dose of pretension into the discussion. Perhaps, it is because “new” calls to mind a bygone era of emergent art forms, which, in their wake, brought fervent calls to abandon and replace old ways of working, for new. This century old debate raises the spectre of another that continues to provoke and inform: how do artists work amidst the maelstrom of technological change? New Weather, rather than referring to the artform itself as the center of this debate, connotes the changing conditions and atmospheres, which intersect in the artist’s studio. The exhibition brings together three artists whose works become a fulcrum of inextricably entangled assemblages of physical, conceptual, historical, personal, and methodological forces, converging to reflect the frenzy and unpredictability of our time.

New York-based Diana Al-Hadid is known for her staggering architectural sculptures, constructed from steel, polystyrene, plaster, wood, resin and wax, in combustive material formulations. Al-Hadid chooses her subjects carefully, balancing a range of formal and intellectual sources, from black holes to Breughel’s The Tower of Babel, from the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland to the slight of hand illusions of close up magic, from the labyrinth on the floor of Chartres Cathedral to the slow rotation of pilgrims circling the kaaba in Mecca. Al-Hadid, levies these resonant interests with an entirely personal, if not idiosyncratic, method—inescapably folding her own identity into a performative exploration of the physical limits of both her chosen materials and constructive methods.

Los Angeles–based Iva Gueorguieva’s large-scale, turbulent paintings seamlessly blend abstraction and figuration into a dizzying blur of coagulating bodies of marks, color streams, and strokes. Her paintings embody the idea of change in both structure and subject. The rapturous explosions of figures that populate Gueorguieva’s paintings are presented as if all we could see of people was the sinewy structure of feelings and emotions. Combining strategies of drawing and painting and engaged with both the formal concerns of color and line and the social concerns of power and history, Gueorguieva’s paintings are a compositional vortex of painted and collaged elements where nothing is static, dissolute or fully formed, but rather in constant flux.

Houston-based Robyn O’Neil is well known for her large-scale drawings made with a mesmerizing accumulation of layers of marks drawn with a mechanical pencil. Her virtuosic and inventive works, explore a world where humans have become out of synch with their most precious resources—land, water, and air—to the point that these resources begin to fight back in a battle for their own survival. In her most recent works, O’Neil has abandoned linear narrative altogether, preferring instead to work in fragments and shards, as if from memory or a dream. Images appear in a boundless space without horizons, water becomes sky and ships float in the atmosphere as if the laws of nature, our most basic assumptions such as gravity, no longer apply. O’Neil’s is an invented world, a space able to balance our most disturbing projections with contemplative reflection.

Presented in this exhibition, the monumental sculptures of Al-Hadid, the turbulent paintings of Gueorguieva, and the enigmatic drawings of O’Neil suggest the possibility of other worlds, conjured in tactile, somatic, and poetic materializations.


David Louis Norr
Chief Curator, Institute for Research in Art

 


Artist Biographies

Diana Al-Hadid [Aleppo, Syria, 1981] lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She received an MFA in sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her work has been included in numerous international group exhibitions, recent exhibitions include “Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East,” Saatchi Gallery, London; the 9th Sharjah Biennial, United Arab Emerates; and “In the Between,” curated by Suzanne Egeran, Istanbul, Turkey. She was recently named a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Sculpture and was a recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Grant in 2007. Her work is represented by Perry Rubenstein Gallery in New York and Michael Janssen Gallery in Berlin.

Iva Gueorguieva [Bulgaria, 1974] lives and works in Los Angeles. She received an MFA from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. Her paintings and drawings have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in a number of cities in the US as well as in Europe, including Stichting Outline, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Pomona Museum of Art, Claremont, California; Western Exhibitions in Chicago; Samson Projects in Boston; 2x2 Projects in Amsterdam; and the Heriard-Cimino Gallery in New Orleans, LA. Gueorguieva has received numerous grants and awards including a Pollock-Krasner Grant in 2006. Her work is represented by Angles Gallery in Santa Monica, California.

Robyn O’Neil [Omaha, Nebraska, 1977] lives and works in Houston, Texas. O’Neil has been included in numerous exhibitions including a solo exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, Texas, which traveled to the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, and the Frye Art Museum, Seattle, Washington. Her work was included in the 2004 Whitney Biennial. In 2010, The Des Moines Art Center will host a survey of O’Neil’s most important work to date. She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant in 2008 and the Hunting Prize in 2009. Her work is represented by Dunn and Brown Contemporary in Dallas, Texas and Praz-Delavellade Gallery in Paris, France.