Holly Rees

Artist Statement:

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 was 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 the Grand Canyon that are easily recognisable to many despite having never set foot there.

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.

Artist CV:


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

2014 Accademia di Belle Arti Bologna, Italy


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

2015 UAL Showroom, 272 High Holborn, London

2015 Float Art, 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


2015 Shortlisted for the Clyde and Co. Art Award

2014 Shortlisted for the Hans-Brinker Painting Prize


2015 Rope Store Gallery, Isle of Wight


2015 UAL Collection, London

2015 Private collections, London

2015 Private collection, Saudi Arabia

2014 Private collection, Amsterdam


The Newbridge Project