Embodied Landscape: Brittney Leeanne Williams at Monique Meloche

CAIRA MOREIRA-BROWN, Newcity , May 19, 2021

The color red has been known to bring out the strongest emotion in humans. It is linked to passion, anger and power. Brittney Leeanne Williams’ latest show at Monique Meloche Gallery provokes all these feelings through “How Far Between and Back” which is on view until June 12.

During her first solo exhibition with the gallery, Williams gives the viewer a body of abstract works concentrating on the female body and the roles the female body holds. Williams depicts silhouettes that aren’t specific, but familiar in regard to the curves on each canvas. The bodies are centralized in the works that create a different understanding of the body, specifically the female body, as they bend and twist into themselves.


Williams demystifies the fragility of how a woman’s body is often understood by placing strong bodies in vulnerable poses while grounding them in the center of the pieces. “Heel,” from 2021, features the silhouette bent over at the hips, paying attention to their heel. Williams uses oil on canvas to reveal the depth and strength, from the thighs to the folds in the stomach. The artist pays homage to her California roots through the color red, which adds a personal touch to the abstract forms.


In Complementary Prayer,” (2021) Williams emphasizes the robustness of the back. She creates dimension by exploring the emotional turmoil that the Black body goes through. The bright red figure sits in isolation, with their legs crossed while shifting their body forward into a lemon bush. The abstract landscape of black and red pigments blends into the figure, allowing the body to exist in duality as an extension of the landscape. The red pigment of the body echoes a siren drawing the viewer in. The psychological impact that Williams creates does not go unnoticed with the curvature of the figure echoing a closed-off nature. Psychologically the figure’s crossed legs reveal that the figure is mentally and emotionally blocked off.