Exhibition Dates: November 3 – November 26, 2011
Reception for the Artist: Saturday, November 5, 2-5pm
The gallery is pleased to present our first solo exhibition of work by Joseph Hartman. “The Road North” features work from Hartman’s two recent series “Highway 69” and “Collins and Heron Bay”, both of which explore notions of memory, the environment and our relationship to the landscape.
Hartman’s “Highway 69” examines the interaction between humans and landscape, and the influences each has on the other. This work was inspired by the artist’s connection to this particular region as a result of travelling through it his whole life. Hartman documents this landscape in transition as it goes through a state of deconstruction and reconstruction via the longstanding expansion project of the highway.
“Highway 69” is also the first leg of a journey that leads to two small native communities in Northern Ontario, Collins and Heron Bay, where Hartman spent the first three years of his life. Although he had no real memories of those early years, his first conscious memory being the day his family moved from the north to the house that his family still inhabits in southern Ontario, he did have images of those early years in his mind.
Hartman’s first year psychology course at Laurentian University, taught him that the mind has the ability to create personal memories from stories heard repeatedly, and that these memories feel as genuine as a memory created from an actual experience. He felt that the images in his mind’s eye of those early years in Collins and Heron Bay were most likely created after listening to the stories that his parents told over the years. Floating through his thoughts just like concrete memories, made it hard to distinguish fabrications pasted together from stories and old photographs, with other memories and thoughts from his subconscious.
Hartman’s series “Collins and Heron Bay” culminated out of a trip to the area 30 years after having left, to determine if his memories were fictional or concrete. Hartman made photographs of places that felt familiar to him, places that he had no doubt passed through 30 years earlier, yet he had no memory of having been there before.
After receiving a Master’s degree in Kinesiology at the University of McMaster in 2004 and being accepted into Medical School, Hartman decided to pursue a career as an artist. He is a self-taught photographer and apprenticed with Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky for over five years. His work can be found in several collections including: Art Gallery of Hamilton, RBC Financial Group, Farrow Partnerships Architects, Pioneer Construction, Murray Demolition, Quadrangle Architects, amongst many others.