Holly Rees

In my practice I attempt to use painting to examine the ways in which we experience and understand landscape. Intermediates – like windows, screens, postcards – can inform a potentially problematic understanding of the world around us, and create an image of “nature” as something separate from humanity.

 

A traditional or idealist concept of Nature comes from a Romanticised image of a pristine wilderness, untouched by humans: but this concept is something that progressive ecologists and eco-critics are trying to dismantle, because it feeds into a damaging human/nature binary. If we put “Nature” on a pedestal and reduce it to an object separate from us, it’s then easy to ignore. However, if this dualism could be broken down, it would be possible to gain a greater understanding of human ecology: that environmental problems are not problems that belong to the Environment, but are problems that belong to us.

 

I’m interested in questioning whether our experiences through different intermediaries reinforce this romanticised idea of nature. In glimpses of landscapes through moving train windows I attempt to use painting as a means to explore a more temporal experience of a landscape we’ve merely glanced at. So too in reproduced images of landscapes, like those on postcards, or in books, we gain a potentially false understanding of a place. This relates to another interesting concept, that of a “celebrity landscape” – places like Yosemite that are easily recognisable to many despite having never set foot there. Images of landscape taken through the lens of social media, and through digital platforms have inspired more recent work, such as the IMG_ series.

 

This line of enquiry has also lead to a parallel development of the work beyond traditional painting, in the design and build of a “Vargon” (an amalgamation of ‘vardo’ and ‘waggon’). This hand built wooden caravan is capable of moving through the landscape itself, again questioning how the ways in which we experience landscape feed into our understanding of it.

 

Education

2012–15 BA Fine Art Painting. (1st) Wimbledon College of Art.

2014 Accademia di Belle Arti Bologna, Italy

 

Exhibitions

 

2018 Holly Rees in ‘Blink Once You Might Miss It’ at Ernest, Newcastle

2017 Holly Rees in The Autumn Exhibition at The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle

2017 Holly Rees ‘More Than Fragments’ at The Rope Store, Isle of Wight

2017 Holly Rees Solo Show with Studio90, Suffolk

2017 London Art Fair with GX Gallery, London

2016 New York Affordable Art Fair with GX Gallery, New York

2016 Bristol Affordable Art Fair with GX Gallery, Bristol

2016 Hampstead Affordable Art Fair with GX Gallery, London

2016 The Mediated Landscape, Southwark, London

2016 Erin de Burca and Holly Rees; Recent Works, GX Gallery, London

2015 UAL Showroom, 272 High Holborn, London

2015 FloatArt 15, Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, London

2015 Friends House, Euston Rd, London

2015 Rope Store Gallery, Isle of Wight

2015 Wimbledon College of Arts Degree Show

2015 Royal Society of British Artists ‘Rising Stars’, London

2014 Hans-Brinker, Amsterdam

2014 CAPSTICKS, Wimbledon

2014 Oil and Water Gallery, Wandsworth

2014 Exquisite Corpse, Islington Arts Factory

2013 CAPSTICKS, Wimbledon

2012 Foyer Show, WCA

2011 The Dover Prize Exhibition, Darlington

 

 

Awards

2015 Shortlisted for the Clyde and Co. Art Award

2014 Shortlisted for the Hans-Brinker Painting Prize

 

Residencies

2015 Rope Store Gallery, Isle of Wight

 

Collections

 

2015 UAL Collection, London

2015 Private collections, London

2015 Private collection, Saudi Arabia

2014 Private collection, Amsterdam