Valérie Belin : Painted Ladies at Edwynn Houk Gallery

Valérie Belin

Valérie Belin is an award-winning French photographer whose photographic series blur the lines between real and artificial.

Belin makes fashion models look plastic and mannequins look real. She shot the real Michael Jackson in 2003 and a group of Jackson impersonators in 2013.

Belin’s early still life work captures a sensory overload of light, dark, bright highlights, and reflections. She likes to use solarization to give a dreamy quality to her work. The rather ornate images have a Baroque quality that would make very difficult puzzles. Mid-career she moved towards more standard portraiture, but always questioning our standards of beauty.

Since 2010 Belin has moved into digital collage. Some of her overlaid images operate like complex reflections in shop windows on city streets. Her image manipulation has been leading the photographer toward painting which is most fully expressed in Painted Ladies.

Belin has been exhibiting since 1994. She had an exhibition at Centre Pompidou in 2005. The artist lives and works in Paris.

Valérie Belin in New York City

Belin is represented in New York by Edwynn Houk Gallery in Midtown East.

Belin returns after her last exhibition, just one year ago, with Painted Ladies from Friday, March 2 – 31, 2018. In this gorgeous series, it is hard to know what is light, what is makeup, and what is processing.

The styling recalls the work of runway beauty pioneer Linda Mason.

The artist creates tension with eyes that look like there is a real person inside the painting. Some of the painted ladies are very primal and oily.

The way Belin both provokes and challenges our conceptions of beauty is wonderfully playful.

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