Brittney Leeanne Williams (b. 1990, Pasadena, CA) takes the body as the main subject of her pictorial investigations. Her works depict figures in transformation, bodies oddly twisted and shaped, human-like shapes that are subject to unseen pressures or forces that lie beyond the edge of the canvas. A struggle which seems to happen simultaneously internally and externally, a duality between exhaustion and strength. The figures twist and knot themselves into emotional landscapes, to such an extent that bodies and landscapes meld into one otherworldly entity. The bodies in William’s paintings endure complex, physical manoeuvres and often find themselves carrying the weight of another figure, leading to an interpretation of familial relationships and suggesting that the aforementioned bodies might be holding the weight of psychological traumas (some of which are yet to come).
Her landscapes are transformed from Southern Californian idyllic views into what she calls “emotional landscapes: representations of psychological states, memories, and emotional ties,” by injecting her omnipresent, often red, folded figure into the architecture of the environment. Williams’s female forms serve as conduits to viewing a dimension of the artist’s spirit and her exploration of feminine and Black identities.
Williams attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, London, Venice, Italy, Antwerp, Copenhagen, and Hong Kong, as well as in Chicago and throughout the Midwest. She is a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant recipient and a Luminarts Fellow. Williams’s artist residencies include Arts + Public Life (University of Chicago) and McColl Center for Art + Innovation, among others. Her work is included in the public collections of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; the Columbus Museum, Columbus, GA; the Domus Collection, Beijing, CN; Fundacion Medianoche0, Granada, ES; the MacArthur Foundation, Chicago, IL; and X Museum, Beijing, CN. The artist lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2023 / (Forthcoming) Newchild Gallery, Antwerp
2021 / The Body Knows Its Door, The Hole, New York
2021 / How Far Between And Back, Monique Meloche, Chicago, US
2021 / The Arch Is a Portal Is a Belly Is a Back, Alexander Berggruen, New York
2020 / This Bitter Earth, Mamoth, London
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2022 / ARTBO 2022, Newchild Gallery, Bogotá, Colombia
2022 / The Natural World: Part II, Alexander Berggruen Gallery, New York, US
2021 / Otherwise/Revival, Bridge Projects, Los Angeles, US
2020 / Ma Was Heavy, Newchild Gallery, Antwerp
2020 / Quarters, Alexander Berggruen, New York
Luminarts Fellowship, 2020
Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant, 2018