Helen van Meene

The emotional spectrum runs from unsettling to downright creepy

Article by Lucy Faringold | 15 Jul 2006

This exhibition is comprised of van Meen's 'fictional' portraits of adolescent girls and boys, as well as her more recent images of youngsters and teenage parents in South London. The artist has stated that she sees her subjects primarily as aesthetic objects, and sure enough these pictures have been painstakingly designed and choreographed until any trace of authentic personality has been removed. As studies in colour and form they are technically accomplished, but these are people, and we have to engage with them as people. Alas, every subject here is engaged in an affected, theatrical pose - either that or their features are so blank that they may as well be landscapes. The emotional spectrum runs from unsettling to downright creepy; there is undoubtedly something faintly disturbing about van Meene's stylised depiction of humanity. [Lucy Faringold]

Stills gallery, Edinburgh, until July 15. Free.