Holly Rees uses painting to examine the ways in which we experience and understand landscape. Intermediates ( such as windows, screens, postcards etc.) 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 were 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.
She is interested in questioning whether our experiences through different intermediaries reinforce a romanticised idea of nature, or give something of a false understanding. In ‘glimpses of landscapes through moving train windows’, she uses painting as a means to explore a more temporal experience of a landscape we’ve merely glanced at. She finds that in reproduced images of landscapes, like those on postcards or in books, we gain a potentially false understanding of a place.