Brittney Leeanne Williams “The Body Knows Its Door”

The Hole

poster for Brittney Leeanne Williams “The Body Knows Its Door”

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The Hole presents The Body Knows Its Door, a solo exhibition of new works by Brittney Leeanne Williams. Her latest presentation of oil paintings centers around nine canvases the size of standard-size doors. They function as vessels for the flesh, memories, and psychological experiences of Black women. The work expands on Williams’ interest in the symbolic relevance of the bent back, which manifests the hidden burdens, strength, and malleability of women’s bodies and experiences.

In The Body Knows Its Door, Williams employs a new method of framing using the standard measurements of a door (approx. 80x32-36 inches) to create nine surreal depictions of human experiences. The series depicts the bent or stooped body as both an anchor and passageway, supporting the dual forces of internal reality and the physical world. Rendered in her signature red palette with waves of temperate cool tones, Williams develops expansive emotional landscapes, evoking ambulance sirens, pools of water, dried foliage, and smoky terrain. Her colors signify psychological states of wonderment, anxiety, woundedness and beyond.

“I often present space in my work to underline the tension between the psychological or spiritual and the external, physical world,” says Williams. “By bringing the arch of the doorway to scale with the women’s persistent bent back, the paintings reveal the interior world that each figure embodies, carries, and becomes.”

Using the doorway as both a framing device and metaphor, the artist locates the body’s intimate connection to architecture. For Williams, the back is the keystone of an archway—essential in collecting its weight. It stabilizes emotional and physical tension. It completes itself as it comes full circle. It’s the harbor from which everything springs and the repository for all memory. In times of distress, the back offers stability and centeredness within one’s psyche. In her careful depiction of these naked, curved bodies, Williams evokes their strength, shared humanity, and struggles that lie beyond the frame.

Brittney Leeanne Williams is a Chicago-based artist, originally from Los Angeles. Her work has been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami (Untitled Art Fair), London, Venice, Italy (Venice Biennale), Antwerp, Copenhagen, and Hong Kong, as well as in Chicago and throughout the Midwest. Williams attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2008-09). She is a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant recipient and a Luminarts Fellow. Williams’ artist residencies include Arts + Public Life (University of Chicago) and McColl Center for Art + Innovation, among others. Her work is in the collections of Museum X and the Domus Collection, among others.



from September 07, 2021 to October 10, 2021

Opening Reception on 2021-09-07 from 18:00 to 20:00

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