Brittney Leeanne Williams
I am interested in the black body as a site of suffering, mourning and memorialization, yet still one that is available to transcendence and transformation. I draw from color pallets and compositions by Fairfield Porter, David Hockney and Alex Katz to create a form of familiar visual language. I then create artificial pastoral landscapes for my fictional bodies to roam. The fictional red bodies are constructed from excavating personal family traumas, while also investigating black communal grievances. The surreal landscapes are fragmented bizarre environments assembled together from childhood memories, 20th century landscape painters, and flat abstract fields of color. Here, the bodies engage with the environment. I explore how trauma, violence and systematic oppression has dictated the orientation and placement of the black body. The figures are arranged in contorted positions allowing for the body, which is seen, to align with the psychological state, the unseen. My work interrogates the duality of the body in the landscape and the body landscaped. That the viewer perhaps is looking at two landscapes in one 2 dimensional frame. I reconfigure our idea of space or landscape by constructing abstract pastoral scenes extrapolated from emotional experience. Red becomes an obsessive apparatus within the work. I am interested in the body emitting a signal. That the body would force the viewer’s attention. Similar to an ambulance’s siren and red pulsing light, I want my bodies to authoritatively enforce that the viewer would look. Red, her urgent exhaustion, is not to be dismissed, but instead sighted. Ultimately, I am compelled to create a visual language that gives some sort of insight into the non-verbal aspects of pain, suffering, grieving, and agony. I want to capture the silence of pain and the intangible and elusive facets of grief and distress. What cannot be articulated verbally, is communicated and explained to the viewer visually. The suffering becomes recognized and the loss and pain is no longer unseen and unnoticed.