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Hudson River Explorers


Hudson River Explorers

Holly Sears
Artwork in laminated glass by Holly Sears showing animals in and out of water.
“Hudson River Explorers” (2012) by Holly Sears at Tarrytown. Photo: Michael Hnatov

About the project

Inspired by this great river’s majesty and informed by the region’s rich history of discovery, exploration, and travel, Holly Sears's "Hudson River Explorers" features 11 laminated glass panels fabricated by Tom Patti Design.

With allusions to the romanticism of the Hudson River School of painting, Sears’s exquisitely rendered views of six above-water and five underwater riverscapes are populated by groups of creatures. The scenes are fantastic, magically real, yet firmly grounded in naturalism. From east to west, the panels in each overpass create the experience of one day, from dawn to dusk, with light, color, and subject. The masterfully painted plants and animals in this watery, dreamy realm include an unexpected combination of native and exotic species: a bobcat and house cat, polar bears and black bears, white-tailed deer, ducks, shad, seahorse and sturgeon, hawks and owls, herons and swallows, elephants, and horses. Sears places a particular emphasis on those animals that are threatened or endangered, enjoining us to consider and protect the natural world that surrounds us. 

The trip down the length of the corridor is one of discovery, and an analogy to the explorers’ experience depicted in the scenes. The viewer will witness the passage of time through the transition of light and color in the sky and river, and the astonishing variety of plants and animals that inhabit each scene offers intrigue and imaginative contemplation. 

About the artist

Holly Sears was born and educated in Virginia, and received an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. Inspired by the mystery and amorality of nature, her paintings are surreal depictions of her observations, visions, and experiences with the natural world. Sears's work has been exhibited at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Bergen Museum of Art and Science in New Jersey. Her paintings are included in the Sidney and Francis Lewis collection, and NYU Langone Medical Center, among many other public and private collections. Sears previously lived and worked in Brooklyn, New York, and in 2021 relocated to Virginia.