moniquemeloche gallery is pleased to present How Far Between and Back, an exhibition of new works by Brittney Leeanne Williams. This is Williams’ first solo show with the gallery, following her participation in the summer 2019 group exhibition SHOW ME YOURS.
Williams’ figures are shapeshifters, each one represents a multitude of women: the artist, the mother, the daughter. The figures become architectural forms, yet also grounding landscape through which resonances of Williams’ childhood terrain in Southern California are captured in red planes.
In response to the classical Eurocentric depiction of the nude female form, Williams presents a series of nude figures in various states of transformation. Rather than a fixed pose – the seductive recline, the pudica, the contrapposto – each figure evokes fluidity, physical yet beset by emotional or psychological entanglements. The landscape and the body adjoin through the surreal; defying the boundaries of ground and ﬁgure, gravity and reason. Each scorching figure is grounded in a terrain of grief, the desolate topography presenting a manifestation of psychological and emotional experiences. Space in the work often evokes notions of internal psychological and spiritual distance from the external, physical world. The bridging of these interior and exterior distances is part of Williams’ investigation of the spiritual .
Rather than inviting an appraising gaze of the female form, Williams positions her figures as solid architectural structures, a vault through which to reimagine the body. Williams’ work draws on Zadie Smith’s reading of Rembrandt’s Seated Nude: “This is what a woman is: unadorned, after children and work and age and experience--These are the marks of living.” (On Beauty)Through her abstracted figure’s ever-changing form, Williams’ female becomes evocatively complex, more difﬁcult to locate, lust after, or fully understand.