This past weekend, Grace and I went to Toronto to check out some of the galleries and openings that were happening around the city. Some of the places we visited included the Power Plant’s Beat Nation opening on Friday, MOCCA, Cooper Cole, AGO, and Susan Hobbes to see Patrick Howletts opening as well. One of the highlights for me of the weekend was going to the Nicholas Metivier Galler yesterday, as it was the last day of the closing reception for John Hartman’s paintings. John Hartman was introduced to me through this blog thanks to Kyla, and the moment I saw his paintings he was someone whose work I was itching to go see. When I saw his paintings for the first time, I couldn’t stop staring at them. I found my mouth watering immediately looking at his paintings, and found his watercolour and oil paintings to be so luscious, full of vibrant colours and executed well compositionally on big scales.
I found myself drawn to his paintings, and picked up a catalogue of his work to learn more about the paintings for this exhibit, which was titled: Place, Story, and Memory.I admit that paintings of surrealist nature landscapes have never really appealed to me, but I couldn’t stop staring at Hartman’s paintings. His work of Georgian Bay, Nova Sotia, and Near Orleans was breathtaking, and his ability to mix in these landscapes with an industrialized cityscape of New Orleans was very well done.
It was interesting to also see how much influence Philip Guston had on his work. In an interview I read inside the Catalogue, Hartman talks about how he is influenced by Guston’s colour-field abstractions, and also even though his work appeared banal, there was something authentic about his freedom to continue to tell stories, which Hartman admired greatly.
Reading the catalogue and seeing how these paintings take on a much deeper meaning made me become drawn to the work even more. Hartman spoke of death, loss, and resurrection of forgotten memories tugging at feelings of possession and desire in his paintings, and how those feelings were imbedded deep within his experiences of the landscapes and cityscapes of those paintings. John Hartman states that, “wherever he goes, ideas for paintings emerge and his imagination gets flooded”, and this is a notion that i totally connected with as a painter.
http://www.johnhartman.ca/ I have attached a link to the artist’s website and encourage you guys to check it out whenever all of you get the chance