Nicholas Metivier Gallery

John Hartman
Across the Great Divide
November 3–26, 2016


Opening Reception: Thursday, November 3, 6 - 8 PM
Artist Talk - In Conversation: John Hartman and Ian Brown, Saturday, October 29th at 10:30am

Nicholas Metivier Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of paintings by John Hartman. The exhibition will open on November 3rd and run until November 26th with an opening reception on Thursday, November 3rd. A talk with John Hartman and Ian Brown will commence at 10:30 am on Saturday, October 29th. This is Hartman’s sixth solo exhibition at the gallery.

Across the Great Divide is a new body of work by John Hartman on the subject of the Canadian Rockies. An avid skier, Hartman has been researching and making studies of the Rockies every year since 2003 and has been exclusively painting this landscape for the last two years. Using a palette of pastel blues, purples and pinks alongside browns and greys, Hartman sculpts the mountains by rendering their light and shadow in a thick, impasto style. Just as Hartman’s paintings of Georgian Bay, Ontario, capture the essence of the landscape’s iconic pink islands, the mountain paintings convey the immense scale and intense light found in the Rockies with remarkable accuracy.

In 2014, Hartman chartered a small plane from Calgary and flew over the Rockies to document the Great Divide Traverse, between Jasper and Lake Louise, that was first completed in 1967 by four young Canadians. Hartman met Don Gardner, one of these skiers, in 2012 and became fascinated with their incredible story. The resulting paintings based on their epic journey will be the subject of an exhibition at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in Banff, Alberta. The paintings in Across the Great Divide are based on the images Hartman took during his 2014 flight above the Great Divide as well as his watercolour studies from the trip. While closely related to the forthcoming museum exhibition, this body of work focuses on the refined painting vocabulary of the Rockies that Hartman has developed over the last thirteen years.

Hartman is renowned for his ability to intertwine narrative and landscape. It is Hartman’s passion for not only the landscape but also its history that allow his paintings to transcend our notions of place and see it as a living, breathing thing. Don Gardner went on to complete a second ski traverse in his late fifties, this time from his home in Calgary, Alberta to the Pacific Ocean at Squamish, British Columbia.  A large portrait of Gardner against the backdrop of this expedition is also included in this exhibition. In the painting, Gardner is surrounded by his notebooks, skiing equipment and a vignette of himself as a young man, watching Hans Gmoser start his attempt to ski the Great Divide Traverse.

Starting in 2003, I spent a month every year, usually March, working in the Gushul Studio in the Crowsnest Pass, painting the front range of the Rockies and the neighbouring Porcupine Hills. I was captivated by the brilliant light in this vast and open landscape. As the years continued I spent more time in the interior, slowly learning to paint the landscape. I am a skier, and the thrill of skiing powder snow soon took me with a group of friends into backcountry lodges. Before and after these trips I began to document the communities along the Columbia River watershed. But it was my flight in early May of 2014, over the glaciers of the Great Divide, that stopped me in my tracks and brought me to a point where I have spent two years painting only this landscape and the people that have adventured into its heart. – John Hartman, 2016

John Hartman has exhibited extensively in Canada as well as in New York, New Orleans and London, England. His work was the subject of two widely acclaimed travelling museum exhibitions, CITIES (2007 – 2010) and Big North (1999-2001). Collections include the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto and the McMichael Canadian Collection in Kleinburg. Hartman’s forthcoming exhibition, The Great Divide Traverse, will open at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in Banff, Alberta in April 2017.

For more information on this artist, click here.