Approved: 16.08.2006

Helen Dryden

Artist, Curator

Approved: 16.08.2006

I work primarily in painting. I create in an expressive and instinctual way, combining imaginary objects, people and scenarios with those I have observed in real life, creating absurd and vibrant canvasses. Drawing and photography is often a starting point, or else images seem to appear spontaneously from the painting itself as I work. 

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      Artist Statement

      I work primarily in painting. I create in an expressive and instinctual way, combining imaginary objects, people and scenarios with those I have observed in real life, creating absurd and vibrant canvasses. Drawing and photography is often a starting point, or else images seem to appear spontaneously from the painting itself as I work. 

      My paintings are usually constructed with multiple layers of acrylic paint, sometimes combining spray paint or collage. I love to experiment with ways of beginning a painting, and I enjoy not knowing what the outcome will be. The narrative of my work is ambiguous, where the viewer is able to make their own associations. I work in the abstract and the figurative, twisting reality to my own joyful or grotesque psychedelic, surreal fantasies. I’m attracted to strangeness and the wonder of perception - the affect of our emotions, experiences and imagination on what we think is reality. 

      I was born in Middlesbrough and now live in Leeds, working from my studio at Sunny Bank Mills. My practice also involves curating, illustration and experimental film photography.

      I studied BA (Hons) Graphic Arts and Design at Leeds Metropolitan University and MA Curation Practices at Leeds Arts University, and have a Foundation Degree from Cleveland College of Art.

      I am the curator of Compact Contemporary gallery, a miniature art gallery which can be viewed on Instagram @compactcontemporary

      CV & Education

      Education:

      MA Curation Practices - Leeds Arts University

      BA (Hons) Graphic Arts & Design - Leeds Beckett University

      Foundation Course - Cleveland College of Art & Design

       

      Solo exhibitions:

      2020  Tidal Reality (online exhibition) 

      2018  A speck of dust, Heart, Leeds
      2016  New Paintings, BrewDog Leeds (Love Arts Leeds)

      2015  Boom Shk (g’dit g’dit dat), Waterside Arts Centre, Sale, Manchester

      2014  Another New Entry, Jordan's Solicitors, Wakefield (part of Artwalk Wakefield)

                Sodium Laureth Sulphate, The Crooked House, Leeds

      2013/14 – bof! Bowery Visual Arts, Leeds
      2007  Paintings and Printings, Otley Courthouse, Otley
      2006  Helen Dryden at The Reform Bar, The Reform Bar, Leeds., Leeds
      2005  Solo Exhibition, Art's Cafe, Leeds, West Yorkshire


      Selected Group Exhibitions:
      *Curator

      2022   Works On Paper 4 Blue Shop Cottage (online)

                 4 Painters & Sunny Bank Mills Gallery

                 2022 Leeds Summer Group Show Leeds Playhouse 

                 anywhere in between The Tub, Hackney, London

                 The Ty^ Pawb Open, Wrexham, Wales

                 Yorkshire Drawn*, Heart, Leeds

                 Winter Exhibition, Gallery 180, Leeds

      2021   Leeds Summer Group Show (online) 

                 Personifying Pleasure, Stay Home Gallery (online)

                 Jungle, Katmapped.org (online)

                 D31 Art Prize, Longlisted

                 Starting Space, The Photo's Edge (online)

      2020 - Creatures, Beasts, Myths - Vacant Museum (online) 

                 Uncovered Streets – Instagram @uncovered_streets curated by Sarah Grant

      2019 – Hygge, kapow! Coffee, Leeds.

                 Twice as nice, PS Mirabel, Manchester

                 Huddersfield Summer Exhibition, The Making Space, Huddersfield.

                 SIZE Matters, Gallery One, The World of Glass, St Helens

      2017 – Capturing Movement, Studio 3 Gallery, University of Kent, Canterbury

                  Paper Idols, Alfred, Leeds

                 Hand In/Hand Out (Double Yolk), Lime Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne.

                 Hip Hop Happy Birthday, Sela Bar, Leeds.

      2016 – SPECTRUM, PS Mirabel, Manchester

                  Her Sela Art Thing II, Sela Bar, Leeds

                  Moments, The Bowery, Leeds

      2015 - Screen Dump, Love Arts Leeds*

                 Shelf Life, PS Mirabel, Manchester

      2014 - Otley Courthouse 10th Anniversary show, Otley

                Mexico Members' Show, Mexico, Leeds


      2013 - Colourful Creations, The Classroom Gallery, Nottingham

      2009 - Leeds Gallery Open, Leeds Art Gallery
                 Particles, Particles, Surface Gallery, Nottingham


      2008 - Leeds Bradford Imprint, Tonic Art Space at LGI, The Carriageworks, and Leeds Design Innovation Centre, Leeds
                 Salon, Patrick Studios, East Street Arts, Leeds


      2007 - 7 Year Itch, Leeds Metropolitan University Gallery, Leeds
                 Imprint, Leeds General Infirmary Tonic Gallery, Design Innovation Centre, The Light,               Leeds
                 Leeds Artists' Show 2007, Leeds Art Gallery
                 Shoes: The Agony and the Ecstasy, Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford


      2006 - Artist's Show 2006, Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds
                 Multiply, Corn Exchange, Leeds, West Yorkshire
                 Off The Shelf, Saltburn Gallery, Saltburn, North Yorkshire
                  Sefton Open 2006, The Atkinson Art Gallery, Southport, Merseyside

      Testbed 4, Leeds Metropolitan University Gallery, Leeds
      2004 - Keighley Arts Factory, Keighley, West Yorkshire
                 Portraits Now, Crescent Arts, Scarborough, North Yorkshire

      Art Fairs:

      2020 – The Virtual Art Fair – Second Edition https://www.thevirtualartfair.co.uk/ 

      2017 – Art&, York Racecourse, York

      2013 – Juju Showcase Spectacular, Leeds

      2013 – MAKE Art and Design Fair, Wakefield

      2007 - Leeds Art Fair Lite, The Light, Leeds

      2005 and 2006 - Leeds Art Fair, The Light, Leeds, West Yorkshire

      Competitions, prizes and awards:

      2019 – Highly Commended – Leeds Museums and Galleries Armistace and After: Peace Outreach Volunteer. (Outstanding contribution to engaging museum audiences)
      2015 - CIT (Creative Industries Trafford) Micro-Commission Award, selected in partnership with Castlefield Gallery. This award is funded by Arts Council England and seeks to help develop the work of promising contemporary artists.

      2009 - Who are you? Photographic competition - runner up, Impressions Gallery, Bradford, West Yorkshire
      2008 - Creative 30 - Nomination, VICE, Volvo, The Independent and Yahoo!, www.creative30.net
      2008 - Street and Studio: Urban portraiture photography competition, Tate Modern, London, UK

      Publications:

      It'll be alright (2022) The Alchemy Experiment, Glasgow

      Street or Studio photobook

      http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/exhibition/street-studio/street-or-studio-photobook

      Catalogue Capturing Movement, University of Kent

      Then and now 10th anniversary of The Bowery, Leeds.

      Press (Art Practice:)

      https://www.thestateofthearts.co.uk/features/snooping-through-studios-column-interview-with-helen-dryden/

      https://www.madeinleeds.tv/player/?playercat=90655&vid=hhj7t0p7&v=2    (interview)

      http://www.madeinleeds.tv/player/?playercat=76647&vid=g60zmp15(Interview 5 mins in)

      https://galleryguy1.wordpress.com/2016/03/18/moments-of-contemplation-the-bowery-moments-exhibition/

      http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/arts-culture-news/rave-on-madchester-spirit-lives-8454895

      https://www.a-n.co.uk/news/now-showing-146-the-weeks-top-exhibitions

      http://www.axisweb.org/thinking-and-ideas/2016/05/five2watch-animals/

      Press (Curatorial:)

      https://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/people/historic-ww1-photos-brought-life-moving-museums-display-leeds-1328333

      https://news.leeds.gov.uk/historic-ww1-photos-brought-to-life-for-moving-museums-display/

      https://www.leeds-art.ac.uk/news-events/news/destruction-to-construction-a-new-exhibition-by-curation-practices-student/