Joseph Hartman

Joseph Hartman, Meadow and Freight Train, Collins, ON, from the series Return, 2010, digital chromogenic print. Gift of Kim Kieller, 2013.

Joseph Hartman
Meadow and Freight Train, Collins, ON, 2010
Digital chromogenic print, edition 2 of 9
27” x 34” (69 x 86 cm)
Gift of Kim Kieller

Meadow and Freight Train, Collins, ON, was featured in Joseph Hartman’s Return, a solo exhibition held in 2012 at the MacLaren Art Centre. This show featured work from the series of the same title, Hartman’s most personal work to date. Of the series, Hartman notes "Heron Bay and Collins are two small Indigenous communities in Northern Ontario, where I lived when I was one and two years old. I was unsure whether the memories I had of those early years were genuine or fabrications of my imagination. I returned 30 years later to find out." Over a period of three weeks in 2010, he photographed intently while reintroducing himself to places and people that he felt he already knew from his family’s extensive mythologizing of those years.

Meadow and Freight Train is consistent in imagery and tone of the rest of this series, depicting a wooded landscape with a freight train passing, appearing as a subtle red blur, in the background. Perhaps testifying to Hartman’s own anxieties, the birch trees dominate the composition, sharply in focus with a long depth of field, suggesting a sense of permanence in contrast to the evanescent train. The work is subtle, and gently probes the relationship between landscape and memory, stability and transience, and the difficulties and rewards in returning home.

We currently hold two photographs from this series in our permanent collection: The House We Lived In, Collins, ON, 2010; and Shed with Hand Prints, Collins, ON, 2010. Both were donated to the MacLaren by Hartman after the successful run of the show in 2012. Acquiring this print allows us to more fully represent Hartman’s work, as well as better articulate the artist’s intent with the series.

Joseph Hartman was born in Barrie in 1978 and was largely raised in Lafontaine, Ontario. After preparation and acceptance into medical school, Hartman decided instead to become an artist. From 2005 to 2009, Hartman apprenticed with Edward Burtynsky. In 2011, Hartman had solo shows at the Campus Gallery, Georgian College, Barrie and Stephen Bulger Gallery, Toronto, which represents his work. In 2012, his work was featured in Return, a solo exhibition at the MacLaren Art Centre. His work is held in numerous private collections, as well as at the Art Gallery of Hamilton where he currently resides.