Image above: © Hellen van Meene, Untitled 0423, 2013 / courtesy of Yancey Richardson Gallery
Images above: © Fernando Sandoval, from the opening reception
Yancey Richardson Gallery presents Five, the fifth solo exhibition at the gallery by Dutch artist Hellen van Meene. Best known for her portraits of young girls in various stages of adolescence, van Meene’s photographs are characterized by their exquisite use of light, formal elegance, and palpable psychological tension. In these new works, van Meene retains her signature style while adding an allegorical element that pushes these images into a new fantastical realm evoking familiar images from the art historical canon.
Image above: © Hellen van Meene, Untitled, 0458, 2014 / courtesy of Yancey Richardson Gallery
Projecting the uncanny quality of fairy tales and horror movies, van Meene peoples her images with somnabulent girls, headless bodies, faceless figures and solitary young women encapsulated in empty, luminous rooms. Based in the outskirts of Amsterdam, the Dutch-born van Meene has been steeped in the traditions of classical painting. Like many artists of the last century, she draws on this knowledge to create contemporary images that, in her case, evokes that of Ingres, Millais, Vermeer and Velasquez.
Image above: © Hellen van Meene, Untitled 0466, 2014 / courtesy of Yancey Richardson Gallery
Born in Alkmaar, The Netherlands in 1972, Hellen van Meene lives and works in Heiloo, The Netherlands. Her work has been exhibited internationally and is held in the collections of major museums worldwide including the Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Brooklyn Museum, MoCA Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. A retrospective of van Meene’s work was recently on view at The Hague Museum of Photography. She is the subject of four artist monographs, including Hellen van Meene: The Years Shall Run Like Rabbits (Aperture, 2015), Hellen van Meene: Japan Series (The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago and De Hallen, Haarlem, the Netherlands, 2002), Hellen van Meene: Portraits (Aperture, 2004), Hellen van Meene: New Work (Schirmer/Mosel, 2006), and Hellen van Meene: tout va disparaître (Schirmer/Mosel, 2009).