Belgian photographer Isabelle Menin creates portraits of flowers that are not only gorgeous in form and color, but also uniquely expressive. Fresh blossoms and withering blooms melt into each other in dreamy washes of color and hazy drips and swirls. Hues and flowers are reflected in pools of water, as forms disintegrate and reappear in trickles and indistinct glimmers of light. The resulting images are breathtaking interplays of light and shadow, form and reflections, and breathtaking colors and textures.
Looking at Menin’s vibrant and organic work, it isn’t surprising to learn that she has a background in painting. After exploring working with paint while developing a career as a graphic designer for over a decade, the artist turned to digital photography. Taking pictures, scanning pieces of nature, she constantly plays with textures and colors, transforming them, mixing them, in order to give shape to a fictional nature, dense and flamboyant at the same time. With rich colors, bold textures, and a stunning abstract quality, her creations look more like masterful illustrations and paintings than conventional photographs.
The complex outcome of every artwork is due to the digital manipulation that Menin loves using to transform and blend her images in order to create her beautifully moody works. As she explains: “Going digital allowed me to push back my limits, to find a much wider sphere of activity where things tied up fluidly and were reversible. I create a space that unfolds through the depth I get by accumulating layers, by light, by transparency and opacity; I put elements together that create a kind of fake landscape, I photograph and then manipulate them in order to twist them and show the sometimes hidden sides.”
Menin calls her work “inland photographs and disordered landscapes” in reference to the strange complexity of nature, which reminds her of human complexity. She says, “The uncontrolled forces, the shapes’ complexity, the inter-weavings and the synergy of the elements, they all look to me like a mirror of human spirit. We are not straight lines, we are like nature, a very large network of interferences that work together to produce something which sometimes looks accomplished and then gets destroyed in a perpetual coming and going between order and disorder.”
In the past five years, Isabelle Menin has had numerous exhibitions in Europe and internationally, both at art fairs and museums. Isabelle Menin lives and works in Brussels, Belgium, and is represented by the Muriel Guépin Gallery.