Have you ever hiked through a beautiful forest or lounged on a dreamy beach, but suddenly noticed the perfect landscape was dotted with litter? Sadly that is the situation in many nature reserves in the US and around the world. This reality has always bothered the artist Mariah Reading, and she had been quoted describing herself as an ‘avid picker-upper’ of litter she finds in parks and other conserved lands. “I couldn’t validate being a landscape painter if the materials I used to paint with ended up feeding a landfill,” she said in an interview. “So I started using recycled material and crusty paintbrushes and paint cans to paint landscapes on.”
Only Reading doesn’t just discard the bits and bobs she finds. Instead, she turns them into pieces of art. Cans, stray shoes, and hubcaps all become canvases for impressionist landscape paintings. The project, Recycled Landscapes, depicts the harm of pollution while reflecting on how humanity and nature integrate. Take a look at some of Reading’s beautiful and thought-provoking work.