Dream Come True Day: Be Inspired by Isabelle Menin’s Art
by Jill Brooke
Isabelle Menin’s lush hypnotic photography is captivating clients around the globe. Gazing at her work makes one feel dreamy which is why we are celebrating her for “Make Your Dream Come True” day for floral news this month. But her work is also cautionary – reminding people to live in the moment.
In the past year, the Belgium artist has had shows in Art Basel in Miami, New York Art on Paper and in China at Hongqiao Contemporary Art Museum in Shanghai and at the Setup Contemporary Art Fair in Bologna. She will also be part of the Art on Paper show in March 5-8 at Pier 36 in New York City.
In her talented hands, flowers shoot out of her canvas like fireworks in the sky into an array of mesmerizing patterns. Look closely and you see that her flora co-exists in all stages of a flower’s life, from ripening to wilting which of course is also metaphors for cycles of life. We are born. We decay. We rebloom. All stages have both beauty and poignancy.
“Between what I want to reach and the final image there is a lot of fight, and I’m not always the winner,” she says. “Actually, most of the time I’m the loser. But what’s important is the new things I’ve discovered and was obliged to explore by losing the battle. And maybe I go where I didn’t want to go and maybe I’m lost in “beauty”. But maybe, finally, that’s where I want to be: lost in beauty. Of course, if it’s only “gorgeous”, it means that I failed.”
Yet to her ardent fans, there is always beauty in her work.
As Jenny G. Zhang so eloquently wrote, “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.”
Menin was a painter for many years while simultaneously working in graphic design. She then turned to digital photography. Playing with textures and colors, mixing shapes and juxtapositioning flowers in unlikely patterns that create its own entity, she found her mojo. In fact, most of these dazzling pictures are the result of photographing hundreds of flowers until she finds the right movement and flora that speaks to her vision.
“I’ve always worked using nature’s elements, particularly flowers,” she says. “Yet my real source of inspiration is life – pain, joy, fear, enchantment, anger and gratitude.”
Although Lumas.com does sell prints on-line, her larger works can also be found at Muriel Guepin Gallery, who has championed her for years.
“She represents classic still life paintings from the Dutch and Flemish schools but uses new technology to create modernity,” says Muriel Guepin.
As I have often said, “Even rainbows know the sky is the limit. Be both the pragmatist and dreamer.” She magically conveys that tension and reality which makes her one of my favorite artists. Nor does she ever lose her focus – which is also the magic sauce for any dream to come true.
Considering Isabelle Menin uses so many florae in her work, I asked her what is her favorite flower.
“Lilies,” she says, “Because of their heady fragrance.” In her talented hands, you can smell those flowers and others with your eyes.
Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD.