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Helen Sear, nature is magic


Helen Sear’s work explores ideas of vision, touch and representation of the nature of experience, with particular reference to the human and animal body and her immediate environment in rural Wales and France. This exhibition of Welsh artist, currently on view at Klompching Gallery, in Brooklyn (NY), features 14 photographic artworks, selected from three recent series—Becoming Forest, View Finder and Wild Flower Arrangements—in addition to Caetera Fumus, which debuted at her solo show for the 2015 Venice Biennale.

The Becoming Forest series explores the experience of moving through a marked forest landscape, and the altered perception of surfaces, forms and space. As with her earlier work, Sear’s gesture of the hand is visible, where she has traced the lines of new forest growth, using a digital pen and tablet. The chaos and entanglement of these hand drawn lines that follow the actual forest growth, contrasts with the geometric neon pigment marks spray-painted by the foresters.

With the View Finder series, Sear continues ideas explored in previous work, where formalism meets the unruly in the managed rural landscape. The hay bales themselves are consistent, central objects. They block the viewer’s ability to see the rural vista, but this perception of the landscape is further disrupted by Sear’s sleight of hand, or intervention, in the making of the artworks. As with Monet’s Haystacks, these photographs are in many ways defined by shadows, or absence thereof.

Wild Flower Arrangements show the flower heads of the Daucus Carota plant, at different stages of maturity—which are often displayed at the same time on the same stem—and have been 
cut and rearranged in unnatural configurations as constructed flora portraits. The complex beauty of the weed that thrives in wasteland, is heightened by its isolation within an interior space, reminiscent of the opulent surroundings of society portraiture.

In 2006, writer and curator David Campany described Helen Sear as “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 offer up her fascination with craft and our habits of looking.” It may still be the case in 2017.

Helen Sear
February 22–April 28, 2017
Klompching Gallery
89 water street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

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