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Installation documentation showing a hanging hammock form to the left hand side of the image, a colourful sculpture composed of painted found materials and circle motifs, braided together in strands. In the background to the left of the bright gallery, on a white wall, is a rectangular artwork mainly white, purple, orange and blue.

Rachel Eulena Williams

Hair and Body

26 August - 19 November 2023

This exhibition by New York-based artist Rachel Eulena Williams debuted a new body of work expanding upon Williams’s exuberant use of colour, her radical approach to materials and the playfulness and vitality of her practice.  

Marking the artist's first major solo exhibition in a UK public institution, the exhibition showcased a new body of work across painting, sculpture and installation. Her work upends traditional approaches to colour and form by expanding her ideas beyond the canvas rectangle; incorporating print, assemblage and bricolage to create multidimensional and layered shapes which seep and blend into their surroundings. 

Rachel Eulena Williams Artist Interview & Walkthrough

Williams took full advantage of DCA’s light and expansive spaces to play with scale and create considerable installations to fill the largest of the two galleries.  In Gallery 1, Williams showcased canvas-based works which blur the line between sculpture and painting. These utilised every inch of negative space, even the overlooked back of the canvas, which is painted in a solid hue to cast coloured shadow on the wall, incorporating the building itself into the work.  

These exercises in bending and blurring borders developed further by incorporating the walls of Gallery 2 into a work mirroring the artist’s deconstructed canvasses. Central to the installation was a new commission consisting of Williams’s signature bold colours, strips of canvas and rope suspended from the ceiling to create a playful swing-like structure.

An installation photograph of the artist's work in Gallery 2 at DCA, showing an artwork in the form of a swing, with a dark wood seat made from found materials, and white braided rope. In the background can be seen a round colourful canvas on a white wall. Streams of sunlight hit the grey floor below the swing.

About the artist

Williams received a B.F.A. from Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York in 2013. Her work has been exhibited internationally at PACE Gallery, New York (2021), Canada Gallery, New York (2020), Loyal Gallery, Stockholm (2019), Ceysson & Bénétière, Sainte Etienne (2018), Night Gallery, Los Angeles (2018), Derek Eller Gallery, New York (2018), Cooper Cole, Toronto (2018), The Journal Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (2017), Mass Gallery, Austin (2017), SomeTime Salon, San Francisco (2017), and Center Street, New York (2017). 

Williams has held the SIP Fellowship at the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, New York (2019), 68 Projects, Berlin (2018; 2020), and NY Studio Factory, Brooklyn (2014). 

Images courtesy the artist and The Modern Institute/TobyWebster Ltd. 

Exhibition Notes

 Listen to an audio version of the Exhibition Notes for Rachel Eulena Williams: Hair and Body here.

Click to download Exhibition Notes for Rachel Eulena Williams: Hair and Body
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Exhibition images

Installation photograph showing a series of round works on a white wall, going into the distance.
Photograph by Ruth Clark
Installation documentation of Gallery 2, showing a swing hung from the ceiling towards the centre of the brightly lit gallery space. A freestanding wall towards the right hand side of the photograph shows a large mural on a dark blue background, with yellow and green elements mainly.
Photograph by Ruth Clark
The image shows a mural with 3d elements, large petal shaped forms in yellow, green and white mostly, on a dark blue background.
Photograph by Ruth Clark
Two round artworks are shown on a white wall. Using found materials and canvas, they have a collaged appearance.
Photograph by Ruth Clark
A close up of an artwork hanging from the ceiling, this image shows the colourful found materials and braiding that constitute a hammock-like structure. In the background a round canvas mainly using black and pink paints can be seen on a white partition wall.
Photograph by Ruth Clark
A photograph of a predominantly blue and purple artwork on a white wall, which can be seen through the canvas in places where there are cut out shapes.
Photograph by Ruth Clark