Beyond Here: An Artist’s Return to the Dales explores the idea of being present in a real place rather than experiencing a virtual life. The artist Martin Kinnear sees the Dales as ‘nothing less than a huge secular cathedral, a place where we can be alone, and in touch with ourselves.’ In its geology, landscapes, places, people and weather Kinnear finds ‘reality and honesty’. To him the Dales 'isn’t just a place, it's an idea whose time has come and one we have never needed more than now'.Selected Works 2017/18
Introduction to the Show catalogue by Martin Kinnear
This is a story about a place. No scrap that, its a story about you. About you because we are the same you and I.
We stopped living here - the here and now the day we plugged in logged on and signed up. The world changed - our world got a lot smaller because we're all connected, I’m the voice in your head. All of the time, but not just me everybody you ever knew, and millions of people you never wanted to. You can get everything on demand these days except you.
Time to be you. Space to be. That’s what this is all about.
I was offered a Thai bride, Viagra, real estate in Florida and cheap car insurance today, but all I wanted was the chance to be me. Those things are not me. I choose to put them outside of my experience but still they flash up when I wake and before I sleep.
I can stand it in the day, in the focus and bustle of my job, but these things creep around the edges of consciousness. Unseen programmers, untiring machines, anonymous algorithms they seek us out. Tentacles.
Did you realise that we only experience this world, this time, this life - our life, through our senses, so whatever you let in - whatever is put in is real ? Your reality is what you consume.
24/7 news, 24/7 views, an endless routine of ‘Likes’ the tyranny of social media. Checking back, checking in, looking over your digital shoulder, concealing your digital footprints.
Where do you live, in what time? Rarely here, rarely now. You are pulled into the past, presented with futures, but never allowed to STOP.
You should think about that. Living today at this time, in this place is to never be alone.
Try to be quiet , for 24 hours. Try to be alone, try to be away from work, bet you can’t.
But on the moors, in the high places. Quietude. An oasis. this place was carved out of the world after the war. Men realised we needed it. Away from the mills. Green spaces. Not a living museum, not a theme park.
We live in the present, connected, online, switched on, but tentacles all the same. We want to be connected, but what happens when we're not?
We happen. Thought. Conversation. Observation. Time. The past and the future stop and the present becomes manifest.
The land here is folded memory upon memory, an accretion of long dead seas dried into alluvial plains, ancient forests distilled into peat bogs. We walk on treetops. The rivers continue what the glaciers began. Change is the only constant, but this landscape remembers it.
We haven’t buried it here under sodium lights, shopping malls or out of town discount brands.
A national park. Better than the NHS. Treatment at the point of need and free of charge. We all need it now more than ever. Art galleries are becoming the new sacred spaces. But here is Art. The Dales are not just a place, but an idea and more than that; a secular cathedral for our age.
I remember hot sun and Malham Cove, like an old scar. I’m 11 and the smoke of home is still in my lungs. Asthma from secondary smoking and migraines from the harsh glare of yellow bulbs hanging unshaded from Artex ceilings. That is my experience.
The camp school teacher is kind. ‘See those walls’, he said. I looked, the landscape was scored by the lines of walls and the hand of man. Erratic, broken like a childs scribble over the valley. ‘They are Iron Age field boundaries'.
I look. I see. My eyes see through their eyes and how many other eyes?
At that moment the Dales became my place. Connected. I see the change. love it and embrace it. how many other eyes will see those walls, painstakingly built and rebuilt on the hills before the hills fall away, eaten from within. Water. Time, Erosion, Memory. Those were my words for this place and its Forces.
That night I buy a postcard. Ridiculous, it's only six miles. But such miles. When I return it's yellowed by smoke. Read but not comprehended. Waste of money they say, doesn’t grow on trees. But they never see trees. The two at the bottom of the garden are my place. Overgrown, watch and not be seen. You’re always out they say. I wonder, why I would be in?
About the Show
Beyond Here was two years on the making, and follows artist Martin Kinnear's journey back to a place he loved as a child, but due to his circumstances remained elusive and out of reach.
Originally conceived as a landscape painting project , Beyond Here soon grew to become an exploration of aspects of the area which made Kinnear feel 'present, aware and alive'.
Encompassing works about the patterns of life on the land, people, places and the seasons Beyond Here is not just a visual diary, but an enjoinment to live in the present, and truly experience life.