I’m There The place The Angel Is Lacking is comprised of two distinct but interconnected our bodies of labor. The bigger canvasses broaden upon my present venture channeling earlier artwork historic types to discover style portray and a type of neoclassical realism. The smaller works proceed my apply of extra summary depictions of the physique merged with panorama. These smaller works are sometimes depicted within the bigger work as props.
The bigger works draw on scenes of visitation and revelation, each from well-known Bible tales and imagined encounters. 4 of those work remake works of different artists, most recognizably Caravaggio’s The Inspiration of St. Matthew and Gerard Seghers’ Dream of St. Joseph. These works re-imagine the longed-for angelic visitation or revelation because the artist in search of inspiration to maneuver previous obstacles and blockages; to be reworked, altered, or renewed. I desire a visitation, I would like revelation however understanding it can’t be compelled, I paint what isn’t. By portray the unseeable into existence, I carry out an act of religion. The place there may be disbelief, I paint perception.
Within the non secular style work, I redact the white European angel, leaving the materiality of the material as a hint of their presence. Moderately than the revelator/customer/interrupter being made in a human picture, the angelic determine is the invisible presence that may have an effect on the seen (material). The materiality of the material is foregrounded in lots of of those items, whereas within the neoclassical mode material is often background. Centralizing the material like this creates a chance for virtuosic portray whereas underscoring the strain between the seen and unseen.
There are two self-portraits included within the exhibition. Self-portraiture has at all times performed an important function in my artwork making. I make self-portraits each for the self-discipline and for pleasure, although hardly ever present them publicly. I’ve been cautious of the potential for reductive and slender positioning and commodification of Black portraiture. Nonetheless, grappling with my very own struggles within the studio, narratives of visitation, and my eager for a sustained sense of non secular encounter compelled me to incorporate self-portraits in these works. I’m there the place the angel is lacking. These items refocus the Eurocentric patriarchal gaze via which Christianity has usually been funneled onto a brand new topic. By portray my portrait as each St. Matthew in an impressed state and St. Joseph in a dream state, I make a Black lady the worthy topic for a scene of prophetic revelation. —Brittney Leeanne Williams
I’m There The place The Angel Is Lacking is on view at Newchild Gallery in Antwerp, Belgium via October 19, 2023.