Dogs and Russian dolls – Hellen van Meene

Last week to see the exhibition of new work by Hellen van Meene, continuing the artistʼs decades-long exploration into photographic portraiture. The exhibition includes several new portraits of adolescent girls, each one characterized by the artistʼs extraordinary use of light and elicitation of her subjectʼs psychological state. Notably, the selection also includes a series of formal portraits of dogs, a distinctly new direction within the artistʼs oeuvre. This is van Meeneʼs third solo exhibition at the great Yancey Richardson gallery.

© Hellen Van Meene

The intimately scaled female portraits in the exhibition were all shot in Russia and in the artistʼs hometown of Heiloo, The Netherlands. Characteristic of van Meeneʼs style, the portraits reflect an introspective mood, unveiling a moment of acute psychological poignancy. In Untitled, St. Petersburg (above), van Meene has returned to a model she previously photographed, whom the artist met in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2007.

© Hellen Van Meene

I’ve heard of some gossips about a teenager who didn’t want to be photographed and cried so much in front of the camera, therefore i’m not sure about the sensibility of the artist towards her subjects, and her deep reasons in the choice of the characters, but still that’s often the point of portraits, and the effort is worth it.

Yancey Richardson Gallery 

Hellen Van Meene

Selected by Ingrid Melano


2 thoughts on “Dogs and Russian dolls – Hellen van Meene

  1. The gossip is not true. How could it be? It’s impossible to do my work if it’s not a collaboration. It has happened that a model cried afterwards, but only because sitting for me had been an intense experience that made her feel different (better!) about herself. There are also many models with whom I have worked with over longer periods of time, which would also not happen if I would abuse my models.

    The only thing you could accuse me of is that I didn’t ask the dogs permission to be photographed…

    • Dear Hellen,

      Thank you for your comment. As you know gossips are often overcoming reality, and i don’t pretend them to be true.
      It is an honor and my pleasure to receive this comment from you, and that you shared your experience with all of us.
      Please keep on doing your wonderful work.

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