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Sear studied Fine Art at Reading University and University College London, Slade School. In the late 1980s she worked primarily through installation, performance and film. Her photographic works were included in the 1991 British Council exhibition "De-Composition: Constructed Photography in Britain", which toured Latin America and Eastern Europe.
In 1993 she received an Abbey Award at the British School at Rome. She won joint first prize for visual art at the National Eisteddfod in Wales in 2011, and was the recipient of an Arts Council of Wales Creative Wales Award to develop new work. Ffotogallery, Wales' national agency for photography published her first major monograph in 2012, Inside the View, which was nominated for best international photography book at Photo Espana. In 2013 she was awarded the Wakelin Award for her work Chameleon, which will remain part of the contemporary art collection at Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and museum.
Her work focuses on ideas of vision, touch, and the re-presentation of the nature of experience with particular reference to the human and animal body and her immediate environment in rural Wales and France.
- Gone to Earth, John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, 1994
- Twice... Once, Anderson O’Day London, 1998
- Zelda Cheatle Gallery, 2000
'Inside The View', Klompching Gallery, New York USA, 2009 
- Beyond The View', Klompching Gallery, New York USA, 2010
- Display, G39 Cardiff, 2009
- Beyond The View, Bildkultur, Stuttgart, 2012
'Sightlines and Pastoral Monuments', Klompching Gallery, New York USA 2012 
- Lure, Oriel Davies national touring exhibition, 2013
- Pastoral Monuments, Les Rencontres Internationales, Gaspésie Canada, 2014
- British Council touring Exhibition De-Composition, constructed photography in Britain. 1991–1998
- Moments of Capture, Museum of Modern Art, Skopje, Macedonia
- A Quality of Light, Office of Art project, Tate Gallery, St. Ives, 1997
- Here to Stay, Arts Council of England purchases from the 1990s Lausanne, Switzerland, 1998
- Je t’envisage, la disparition du portrait: Musée de L’Elysée,
- About Face, Hayward Gallery, London, 2004
- La Mirada Reflexiva, Espai D’Art Contemporani de Castellon, Spain, (with Robert Longo and Perejaume ), 2005
- Nothing Is In The Place, Kraków (Photo month), 2010
- We Have The Mirrors, We Have The Plans: Oriel Mostyn, Llanduddno, Wales, 2010
- Paris Photo, Aperture Foundation New York, 2011
- Portmanteau, Halle 14 Leipzig, 2011
- Hijacked 111, Derby Quad, 2012
- New Perspectives: Landscape Art in Wales since the 1970s, National Museum Wales, 2012
- Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition, London, 2014
- Natural’s Not in It John Slyce Portfolio no. 35 (2002)
- Face. The New Photographic Portrait. Thames and Hudson (2006) 
- Inside the View (2012)
- Brisées (2013) 
- "Helen SEAR". Helen SEAR.
- British Council. "Exhibitions - Current - DECOMPOSITION - British Council − Visual Arts". britishcouncil.org.
- "Helen Sear: Artist's Talk « The British School at Rome". bsr.ac.uk.
- "Lure". orieldavies.org.
- "Helen Sear - Inside the View - Ffotogallery". ffotogallery.org.
- Contemporary Art Society. "Helen Sear - Contemporary Art Society". contemporaryartsociety.org.
- "Helen Sear wins The Wakelin Award 2013". WIRAD. Archived from the original on 2015-02-16.
- g39.org. "g - 39". g39.org.
- "bildkultur Stuttgart, HELEN SEAR – BEYOND THE VIEW". bildkultur.de.
- "Helen Sear at Maria". photogaspesie.ca. Archived from the original on 2015-02-16.
- "Miesiąc Fotografii w Krakowie 2012 -- Photomonth in Krakow 2012". photomonth.com.
- "We Have The Mirrors, We Have The Plans". mostyn.org. Archived from the original on 2015-02-16.
- g39.org. "g - 39". g39.org.
- "Hijacked III: Contemporary Photography from Australia and the UK". QUAD. Archived from the original on 2015-02-16.
- "Summer Exhibition 2014 - Exhibition - Royal Academy of Arts". royalacademy.org.uk.
- "Thames & Hudson Publishers - Essential illustrated art books - Face - The New Photographic Portrait". thamesandhudson.com.
- "Brisées - 2013". Helen SEAR. Archived from the original on 2015-02-16.