Holly MacKinnon is an artist based out of Montreal, Canada. She received her BFA from NSCAD University in 2015. In 2014, she was awarded the Art In Schools Scholarship in Stellenbosch, South Africa, where she spent a semester interning for a community art program and painting. Since then, she has been developing her body of work, experimenting with different subject matter and exploring themes such as the relationship between humans and nature. Her work has been shown in exhibitions and publications in Canada and the UK. She recently completed an artist residency in Iceland.
Her work is mostly oil paintings of figures within dreamlike landscapes and spaces. Nature is an escape from reality and provides an intense loneliness that the artist enjoys. These experiences in nature bring about a certain self-reflection. Most of the figures she paints in these scenes look lost, disturbed and lonely even when they are not alone. They seem to have wandered into the woods for want of a peaceful place. There are many ideas at play: childhood, mental and emotional (in)stability, and the relationship between humans and nature.
A still moment that seems uneventful is full of conflicting energy: calm landscape, dark ominous sky, disturbed expressions – the painting pulls us in and out of joy and despair. In these woods, experiences are not shared: they are individual and deeply personal and differ greatly from one figure to the next – what transpires in the mind of our neighbour we do not know.