Helen Sear’s practice focuses on the co-existence of human, animal, and natural environments and is rooted in an interest in Magic Realism, Surrealism and Conceptual Art.
She studied Fine Art at Reading University and University College London, Slade School, her practice coming to prominence in the late 1980s, when she worked primarily with mixed-media installation, performance and video. Her photographic works became widely known in the 1991 British Council exhibition, De-Composition: Constructed Photography in Britain, which toured extensively in Latin America and Eastern Europe.
Photography remains a central subject and medium in her work, which often challenges the dominance of the eye and the fixed-point perspective associated with the camera lens, and explores the potential of the artwork to activate and elicit feeling.
Sear was the first woman to represent Wales with a solo exhibition at the 56th Venice Biennale 2015 presenting a suite of new works…the rest is smoke. Her most ambitious video work to date, wahaha biota has been shown in the UK, Netherlands and Switzerland in 2018 /2019. Her inaugural exhibition with Martin Asbaek Gallery, Fascination, opened in Copenhagen in March 2018 and in 2019 two major pieces were acquired by the James Hyman British Photography Collection.
She was visiting professor at the Royal Academy Schools, London between 2014 and 2019.
“Sear is one of photography’s foremost innovators. For her the medium is one of magic as much as realism. It is never pure, fixed or entirely knowable. Each new series presents a new set of challenges that offer up her fascination with craft and our habits of looking.”
Helen Sear is represented by:
James Hyman Gallery, London – www.jameshymangallery.com
Klompching Gallery, New York – www.klompching.com
Martin Asbæk Gallery, Copenhagen – www.martinasbaek.com