Brittney Leeanne Williams in Harpers Magazine

August 2021 Issue

HARPER’S MAGAZINE

The Alternative States Interview: Yuri Yuan

I draw inspiration from many different things, like Murakami’s short stories, Bojack Horseman the animation, and existentialist philosophy, especially Camus. “Aloneness” is a common theme in my work. Rather than dwelling in the sad emotion of “loneliness,” I think of the protagonist in my work as someone who constantly reflects on their experience and their connection in this world. Many people asked if the back-facing figure is me and if these paintings are self-portraits. The answer is no, they look like me as they are made in the image of me, but they are more like a signpost, or a witness to an event, for the viewer to project their own emotion onto the narratives of the paintings. Over the past year, I have been thinking about personal loss and how they translate to global tragedy, the private grieving process juxtaposed with the bombarding and politicized news of the pandemic. I certainly do not hope to provide an answer, but to give space for the audience to process complicated emotions.

I will have my debut solo show in New York in July at Alexander Berggruen, which I am really excited about.

Yuri Yuan See You on the Other Side, 2020 oil on canvas 48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm.)
Installation view of Elana Bowsher, Vicente Matte, Gabriel Mills (June 2–July 14, 2021) at Alexander Berggruen, NY.

Vicente Matte: Enigmas de la Pintura al Temple

Vicente Matte (Santiago de Chile, 1987) se interesa por la construcción de imágenes aparentemente simples, pero que lentamente vayan revelando ideas y narraciones más complejas que inicialmente no se advierten. En sus obras más recientes, expuestas en dos galerías de Nueva York, se distinguen personajes en solitario o formando conjuntos, sin relacionarse entre ellos, flotando en campos de color, en una suerte de asepsia relacional.

Vicente Matte (Santiago de Chile, 1987) is interested in the construction of apparently simple images, but that slowly reveal more complex ideas and narratives that are not initially noticed. In his most recent works, exhibited in two galleries in New York, characters are distinguished alone or in groups, without relating to each other, floating in fields of color, in a kind of relational asepsis.

Anna Kunz Demo 3, 2021 oil on linen 13 x 11 in. (33 x 27.9 cm.)

SATURDAY SELECTS: Week of April 12, 2021

This week, a new group exhibition opens at Alexander Berggruen in New York. Called Shapes, the show explores geometric abstraction by artists both new and old (or dead): Marina Adams and Ellsworth Kelly; Ethan Cook and Imi Knoebel; Sam Moyer and Sol LeWitt. From top: Anna Kunz, Ethan Cook, and Paul Kremer.

Brittney Leeanne Williams Naomi and Ruth-Temper My Grief, Cool My Tongue, 2020 oil on canvas 60 x 48 in. (152.4 x 121.9 cm.)

Brittney Leeanne Williams: The Arch Is a Portal Is a Belly Is a Back

The bent posture of a semi-abstracted female silhouette dominates 15 of the 17 artworks by Brittney Leeanne Williams, currently on view at Alexander Berggruen [March 5–April 14, 2021]. This show of paintings and works on paper made 2020–2021 embodies the Chicago-based artist’s investigations into the physical and psychological exhaustion of being a black woman in the United States. Sensuously folded, a recurring figure’s posture has been simplified as a smooth rounded arc to indicate the back. A few simple curves imply the breast and belly, and introduce a void beneath them. Variations come from other formal components that energize and solidify the work. In addition to her frequent use of red on the figures, which the artist discusses in various interviews as referencing the pulsing lights of ambulances in Chicago, Williams also includes subtle line work, elements of the natural environment as setting, and positions of arms and legs that create the positive and negative spaces in the compositions.

In Williams’ work, the negative spaces are just as much a positive form of the bent figures. She implies that all the crevices and surfaces are deserving of her affection, and our attention.

Brittney Leeanne Williams Rain 1, 2021 oil on canvas 36 x 24 in. (91.4 x 61 cm.)

Brittney Leeanne Williams: The Arch Is a Portal Is a Belly Is a Back

JUXTAPOZ

We’ve been keeping a close eye on the work of Brittney Leeanne Williams and her unparalleled explorations of the human figure in relationship with the landscape. By working with a single posture, the contorted or bent over body, the Chicago-based artist speaks of psychological states as well as the misshapen and emotional experiences of being a woman. […] Whether its shape reflects in the mountain range in the background or it carries tree-tops, has the sun setting within or an ocean underneath, gets rained over, or dissolved in the wind, it becomes a powerful symbol of different scenarios in which women bend, especially on a psychological level.

“These works expand on my interest in bringing together expressionistic, almost symbolic landscapes with geometric picture planes, arcs, and borders,” the artist told Juxtapoz about the particular element she was exploring with these pieces. “They bow, bend, and break out of borders while their feet inch into the beyond.”

Danny Fox House of Pies, 2020 acrylic on canvas 72 x 60 in. (182.9 x 152.4 cm.)

British Painter Danny Fox’s Star Continues to Rise

Fox’s canvases use a vibrant array of colors that are tempered, or appear worn down, evoking the shadowy natures of their subjects. A skillful tightrope walker, Fox operates as both observer and participant: on a cellular level, the canvases convey that the artist is deeply intimate with the kind of life, always lived outside the ordinary, that he depicts. At same time, the structures of Fox’s compositions indicate an understanding of the painters and paintings that have come before him. The resulting work exudes a visceral synergy.

Fox’s show at Alexander Berggruen consists of paintings that echo those photos and drawings—an oozing array of opulent canvases organized around solo figures. Mostly female, the characters smoke, they straddle stuffed animals, they clasp their knees in seductive disdain, they eye us with casual contempt, they sprawl out across the floor or invite us to follow them deeper into the canyon.

Taking in the new body of work he’s amassed, I mention to Fox that it feels not unlike a great album, where the work conveys a single moment but also evokes an entire journey. “I always think of shows as albums,” says Fox. “I use that to help encapsulate certain moments and not worry if it’s off brand. I even sometimes think, Ah, shit, I’m making a bad album here. But I also like that feeling—like it’s going to be the ’80s Dylan album that you one day understand.”

Hulda Guzmán Pintando la Almendra, 2020 acrylic gouache on linen 45 x 45 in. (114.3 x 114.3 cm.)

Hulda Guzmán: my flora, my fauna

THE BROOKLYN RAIL

Guzmán’s solo exhibition at Alexander Berggruen is her first in the United States since [the 58th Venice Biennale], and it finds her turning, mostly, to views around her studio, where she was confined during COVID quarantine. It’s a breathtaking retreat. From the artist’s window, palm trees spread out over lush tropical hills. Garden pathways wind through forests where children, birds, and animals peer through thick trees. Guzmán’s work recalls Henri Rousseau’s in its naïve, mystical depictions of forest creatures and foliage. But her most exhilarating landscapes also make me think of Lucas Arruda, who inexplicably transforms the unyielding Brazilian Amazon into placid fields like Mark Rothko paintings. As does Arruda, Guzmán deftly invites a kind spiritual awakening in her vibrant forest scenes.

Hulda Guzmán The Mischievous in Harpers Magazine

January 2021 Issue

HARPER’S MAGAZINE
Hulda Guzman my flora, my fauna Installation at Alexander Berggruen

Hulda Guzmán

THE NEW YORKER

Tropical vistas, mise-en-abyme effects, and images of a plump cat are among the many lush pleasures in this young Dominican painter’s exhibition “my flora, my fauna,” at the Alexander Berggruen gallery. Guzmán’s colorful works, in acrylic gouache, depict a surreal world in which domestic interiors spill into jungle landscapes.

Hulda Guzmán Una película de terror (bajo la Amapola y la Manzana de oro), 2020 acrylic gouache on canvas in artist's frame 48 x 29 1/2 in. (121.9 x 74.9 cm.)

In Hulda Guzmán's Work, Nature Takes Precedence

GARAGE

In Hulda Guzmán’s solo exhibition at Alexander Berggruen in New York, paintings of figures, flora, and fauna from the Dominican Republic depict an artist exploring reality from multiple perspectives. The paintings, at times featuring the artist, her cat, and conjured-up creatures, are large, while the figures within are usually small, basking in the warm hues of the Dominican light. In self-portraits, Guzmán unfolds a scene from various points of view, bringing reflective opportunities to the forefront. As an optimistic response to the anthropocene–an era marked by the effect of humans on the environment–the artist paints nature’s omnipresence in a scale that is overwhelming. A feeling of acuity and gumption is present. After studies at the Chavon School of Design in the Dominican Republic, Guzmán furthered her schooling in photography and mural painting at the National School of Visual Arts in Mexico which layered complexity to her technique. Born in 1984 in Santo Domingo, Guzmán was featured in the Dominican Republic’s pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale. GARAGE caught up with the artist about her current show, while she was at her rural ocean-side studio.

Austin Eddy The Promise Of Spring, 2020 oil, flashe, colored pencil, paper on canvas in artists frame 50 x 32 in. (127 x 81.3 cm.)

Animal Kingdom – Digital Exhibition at Alexander Berggruen

THEGUIDE.ART

Through nearly 50 works by more than two dozen artists—including Lucian Freud, Walton Ford, and Paola Pivi—this online show explores the myriad creative attitudes that inform how animals manifest in contemporary art. Specific contexts explored in the exhibition range from domestic realms inhabited by pets and livestock to the wild landscapes known to bears, elephants, anteaters, and beyond.

Spanning the past four decades, the paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and other types of art on view in “Animal Kingdom” coalesce into a spectacle as elegant and chaotic as the natural world they evoke.

Brittney Leeanne Williams in the studio. Photo: Sarah Lawhead

Breakout Artists 2020: Chicago’s Next Generation of Image Makers
Brittney Leeanne Williams

NEWCITY ART

Brittney Leeanne Williams’ paintings depict figures in transformation and bodies subject to unseen pressures or forces. In Williams’ own words, the figures twist and knot themselves into emotional landscapes. These figurative and pictorial inversions create a body-space continuum. Their postures hold tensions that connect the present moment to centuries past.

Brittney Leeanne Williams Blue Lemon Tree, 2019 oil on canvas 30 x 64 in. (76.2 x 162.6 cm.)

Brittney Leeanne Williams’ Deep Red Paintings Signal Female Trauma

ELEPHANT MAGAZINE

The Chicago-based artist’s rich, vivid works see her employ a recurring red figure who plays host to the experiences, emotions and memories of women.

The Coronavirus and the Art World

The Canvas speaks with Dominique Lévy, Casey Kaplan, Alex Logsdail, and Alexander Berggruen; four dealers representing four very different galleries that range considerably in both size and scope, to get their thoughts on an instantly altered art business, and what that means for the gallery ecosystem going forward. Alexander Berggruen, whose Upper East Side gallery space opened in October, has placed works by artists ranging from Ed Ruscha to Paul Kremer with collectors who acquired the pieces solely based on their digital images. The gallery has an online private view of its current exhibition, ‘Quarters: Anne Buckwalter, Dustin Hodges, JJ Manford, Brittney Leeanne Williams’ through its Artlogic platform that it has shared with its clients; and a 3D virtual-reality tour of the exhibition has been made publicly available via Matterport’s technology on the gallery’s website.

Installation paintings by Hulda Guzmán and Rebecca Ness

Katherine Bradford, Hulda Guzmán, Rebecca Ness

THE NEW YORKER

The second show at this new gallery, helmed by a third-generation art dealer, impresses with a trio of exciting painters.

Alexander Berggruen Words Installation Twombly, Braque, Klee, Basquiat, Ruscha

Tour the New NYC Art Gallery Industry Insiders Have Their Eyes On

ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST

Alexander Berggruen debuts—with a show featuring John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha, Jonas Wood, Emily Mae Smith, and Richard Prince—in a renovated historic space on Manhattan’s Upper East Side

artnetNews logo

Editors’ Picks: 23 Things Not to Miss in New York’s Art World This Week

ARTNET NEWS

In August, former Christie’s specialist Alexander Berggruen announced that he would become the latest dealer to defect from the auction world and venture out to open a private gallery with his name on the door. Taking over the address that once housed the uptown digs of Mitchell-Innes & Nash, Berggruen’s eponymous gallery opens this Friday with a stacked group show called “Words,” focused on how artists have embraced the verbal in their practices. Heavy hitters known for their motto-based works, such as Ed Ruscha, Barbara Kruger, and Lawrence Weiner, will be represented, alongside the late Cy Twombly and Jean-Michel Basquiat, who both have text slinking through their canvases. Younger artists such as Jonas Wood, Matthew Cerletty, and Emily Mae Smith will also have work in the show.

The Canvas Logo

Third-Generation Berggruen Carries His Family’s Legacy Forward

ARTISHOCK REVISTA

Vicente Matte (Santiago de Chile, 1987) se interesa por la construcción de imágenes aparentemente simples, pero que lentamente vayan revelando ideas y narraciones más complejas que inicialmente no se advierten. En sus obras más recientes, expuestas en dos galerías de Nueva York, se distinguen personajes en solitario o formando conjuntos, sin relacionarse entre ellos, flotando en campos de color, en una suerte de asepsia relacional.

Vicente Matte (Santiago de Chile, 1987) is interested in the construction of apparently simple images, but that slowly reveal more complex ideas and narratives that are not initially noticed. In his most recent works, exhibited in two galleries in New York, characters are distinguished alone or in groups, without relating to each other, floating in fields of color, in a kind of relational asepsis.

Alexander-Berggruen

From Chelsea to the Upper East Side, New York’s Gallery Landscape Is Getting a Makeover Ahead of the Fall Season

ARTNET NEWS

Make sure to consult Google Maps before you head out on your first gallery crawl this fall. Over the summer, there has been a mini-flurry of gallery moves and closings across New York City.

One major change is taking place in Chelsea, where mega-dealer Larry Gagosian has absorbed the storefronts next door to his already gargantuan 24th Street location. They were formerly home to Pace Gallery and Mary Boone Gallery.

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