A NEWPORT-based photographer has been chosen to represent Wales in a solo art exhibition at the Venice Biennale next year.

The Arts Council of Wales (ACW) revealed today that Helen Sear has been selected to represent Wales in Venice at the 56th International Art Exhibition at the Biennale, from May 9 to November 22, 2015.

This will be the first time for Wales to present a solo exhibition by a female artist.

Known as one of Wales’ most significant contemporary artists, Helen Sear’s practice explores the crossover between photography and fine art, her focus on the co-existence of the human, animal, and natural worlds.

The ACW said this was "the perfect moment" for Ms Sear, who is based at the University of South Wales in Newport lecturing in photography and fine art practice, to represent Wales in Venice, at the exhibition curated by Ffotogallery.

They said her work "challenges accepted notions" of photography as a documentary and creative medium.

"Having lived and worked in Wales since 1984, the opportunity to be part of Wales in Venice has been an ambition of mine for several years," said Ms Sear, whose work has been exhibited in Finland, New York and Spain and is due to exhibit at the fifth Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie en Gaspesié in Quebec, Canada, and in Seoul next autumn.

"The photographic image in art practice has never been so diverse or contested, and, with the acceleration of new digital technologies, the material presence of the image is now more than ever at stake,” she said.

David Drake, director at Ffotogallery said Ms Sear, who was joint winner of the visual art prize at the 2011 National Eisteddfod, will be creating a "beguiling new body of work" which is both rooted in the landscape of Wales, and responding to the wider context of the Venice Biennale.

The exhibition takes place at the Giardini, the Arsenale and various locations across the city of Venice.