Approved: 16.08.2006

Helen Dryden

Artist, Curator

Approved: 16.08.2006

Located in Leeds, UK, I create surreal and colourful, often psychedelic paintings with atmospheric or emotional resonance, which can often veer into a strange humour. 

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      Artist Statement

      Located in Leeds, UK, I create surreal and colourful, often psychedelic paintings with atmospheric or emotional resonance, which can often veer into a strange humour. 

      Working primarily in acrylic on canvas, I explore the tension between reality and my imagination. Music, walking amongst trees, horror/sci-fi books and films feed my interest in alternate realities and the exploration of humanity and nature’s strangeness. I think about humanity’s place in the world, and how we fit in with each other and our environment. 

      I combine abstract/figurative imagery to create paintings that can be ambiguous and dreamlike, or more representational. Within the body of my work the viewer can be free to make their own associations. 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.

      CV & 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 - East Street Arts Open Studios, 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)

      2014 – 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:

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

      2020 – Uncovered Streets – Instagram @uncovered_streets curated by Sarah Grant

      2019 – Hygge, kapow! Coffee, Leeds.

      2018 – Twice as nice, PS Mirabel, Manchester

      2018 – Huddersfield Summer Exhibition, The Making Space, Huddersfield.

      2018 - SIZE Matters, Gallery One, The World of Glass, St Helens

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

      2017 – with Kat Archibald, Paper Idols, Alfred, Leeds

      2017 – Hand In/Hand Out (Double Yolk), Lime Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne.

      2017 – Hip Hop Happy Birthday, Sela Bar, Leeds.

      2016 – SPECTRUM, PS Mirabel, Manchester

      2016 – Her Sela Art Thing II, Sela Bar, Leeds

      2016 – Moments, The Bowery, Leeds

      2015 - Screen Dump at Love Arts Leeds*

      2015 - Shelf Life, PS Mirabel, Manchester

      2014 - Otley Courthouse 10th Anniversary show, Otley

      2014 - Mexico Members' Show, Mexico, Leeds
      2013 - Colourful Creations, The Classroom Gallery, Nottingham

      2009 - Leeds Gallery Open, Leeds Art Gallery
      2009 - Particles, Particles, Surface Gallery, Nottingham
      2008 - Leeds Bradford Imprint, Tonic Art Space at LGI, The Carriageworks, and Leeds Design Innovation Centre, Leeds
      2008 - Salon, Patrick Studios, St Mary's Lane, Leeds
      2007 - 7 Year Itch, Leeds Metropolitan University Gallery, Leeds
      2007 - Imprint, Leeds General Infirmary Tonic Gallery, Design Innovation Centre, The Light, Leeds
      2007 - Leeds Artists' Show 2007, Leeds Art Gallery
      2007 - Shoes: The Agony and the Ecstasy, Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford
      2006 - Artist's Show 2006, Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds
      2006 - Multiply, Corn Exchange, Leeds, West Yorkshire
      2006 - Off The Shelf, Saltburn Gallery, Saltburn, North Yorkshire
      2006 - Sefton Open 2006, The Atkinson Art Gallery, Southport, Merseyside

      2006 - Testbed 4, Leeds Metropolitan University Gallery, Leeds
      2004 - Keighley Arts Factory, Keighley, West Yorkshire
      2004 - Portraits Now, Crescent Arts, Scarborough, North Yorkshire

      Art Fairs:


      2020 – The Virtual Art Fair – Second Edition 

      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!,
      2008 - Street and Studio: Urban portraiture photography competition., Tate Modern, London, UK




      'Street or Studio' photobook


      Catalogue 'Capturing Movement', University of Kent

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








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