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Martin Kinnear: The Painted Garden
26th March – 12th April
Martin Kinnear is returning in 2020 for his second selling exhibition at The Garden Rooms at Tennants. An internationally recognised artist, tutor and writer, Martin will be bringing his show The Painted Garden to Tennants, an exhibition about how people are forged and tempered by adversity, and how he was inspired by quiet, meditative spaces.
In 2018 Kinnear was awarded the prestigious Medaille d’ Argent by the Societie Nationale des Beaux Arts at his first Paris Salon, an notable achievement for a first Salon by a non French painter. Works from his forthcoming show Regeneration have been selected to hang at the 2019 Pais Salon, before going on to form part of a major solo show at The Bowes Museum County Durham from November 2020 – Feb 2021.
It’s not in the nature of painters to put things into words; we try and paint
what can’t be said. However, I never intended to paint this show, and it’s
certainly unlike anything I’ve created since I started painting in 2000, so
collectors of my work deserve an explanation for this apparent change
It started in 2014 when my wife Jane and I moved to Shammer House,
a typical Georgian farmhouse set in the North Norfolk countryside. As a
landscape painter, I intended to paint its far-reaching views and capture the
weather and unique light of our county.
Instead I found myself drawn inexorably to the garden, which surrounds
the house, enclosing mature planting and cutting beds within a mellow
Norfolk Red brick wall. It’s a far cry from the corporation planting of the
council estate where I grew up in East Lancashire and at first, I just went
with my impulse to paint it as a preparatory exercise before creating some
Months passed and with each seasonal change in the garden my
compulsion to observe and paint it grew stronger, as my interest in painting
the views from it waned. By autumn 2014, my studio was alive with oil
sketches of the garden and I had to concede that my ambitious landscape
project was dead. Sometimes the subject chooses you.
In hindsight I now realise that in its variety, in its imperfection, in its struggles
and in its fleeting triumphs the garden had become something of a mirror of
my own recovery from devastating illness.
I love the way it’s imperfect, yet when taken as a whole can appear to be
more than the sum of its parts. I admire how stubborn plants can thrive
against the unexpected adversity of our coastal weather and, most of all,
I’m drawn to the idea of how it will persist and continue to be beautiful long
after I cease to see it.
The garden is life writ large, irreverent, joyous, irrepressible and
independent, and I came to see and celebrate it in those terms.
As I began to see the garden as a metaphor for my recovery, my
paintings of it became infused with my zeal and appetite for life. They are
celebrations of beauty in imperfection, of unexpected moments, records of
adversity and meditations on my sheer joy of being alive in 2019.
The Painted Garden then will be a huge disappointment to lovers of
botanical Art. While I have the greatest respect for artists who can paint
such things, I have no interest in reproducing nature as it is.
All I can offer you is this self-portrait in paint.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a talk by Martin Kinnear. Further details to be announced.