Friday, May 15, 2015


Venice Biennale Review – Pippa Koszerek for Artist Newsletter

"Helen Sear’s sumptuous photographic prints and films, in the Wales in Venice exhibition, reveal layers and depth lent by the physical materiality of these sculpturally displayed pieces. Her exquisite mastery of the manipulated image creates abstracted experiences of nature that can be profound.
But of course they would be – Sear is technically and conceptually rigorous, often returning to film and photograph works anew many times over. Time, space and renewal are central elements within her practice.
Stack, 2015 © Helen Sear

This is a deeply sensory exhibition, subtly curated to sit within the architecture of Santa Maria Ausiliatrice church. There is a kind of ritual and ceremony, an enchantment propelled by the rhythm of the flickering spliced edit of company of trees.

The repetitious sounds of birdsong and chainsaw follow the viewer into the Sacrista where birds feed, dart and return in altar and the ground swells and expands as we look down onto the beginning and end of things, at what could be a marble basin but is in fact a video-manipulated pool of water reflecting trees high above.
Moving through this exhibition is a captivating and magical experience. stacks, a huge photographic piece which lines the entirety of one wall, is a life-size confrontation of farmed logs. Composed of multiple images printed on aluminium and stacked along the wall, this black and white piece cleverly refracts and retains colour and light, ever changing as the viewer walks past, creating an effect not dissimilar to that experienced in nature itself.
Sear’s final work subtly references Mantegna’s third painting of Saint Sebastian, using it as a spatial guide onto which she places her own imagery and meaning. The vivid colour of the rape seed, the red arrows piercing canvas and air rather than flesh, along with the clever layering of perspective and material, suggest an untouchable reality. Sear’s contemplative and exhilarating exhibition is a visual revelation".–Pippa Koszerek

This review is quoted from a more expansive piece, published on the Artist Newsletter website here.

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