Celine Hartwig

Iowa City, Iowa


Celine explores the possibilities of what can happen inside the frame, arranging the contents of what she sees into a visual language made clearer by the technical capabilities of the camera. She is drawn to the abstract qualities of minimalistic landscapes and architecture emphasizing texture, patterns and light. She is also interested in documenting the lives of everyday people in their communities and familiar places and things, making images that reveal something about our shared experiences. Born in Milwaukee and raised in Des Moines, Celine holds a B.S. and M.S. from Iowa State University. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the south and Midwest. 


Artist Statement

Several years ago a small group of vintage family portraits survived an electrical fire that entirely destroyed my childhood home and almost everything in it. Some of the portraits were on a laptop in the basement of the house, scanned for safekeeping, while others were original photographs. Inspired by their endurance, I created a generational portfolio that visually reimagined this group of women who literally rose up through the ashes and weathered the flames. The chaotic and fast moving fire surrounded these portraits, but they remained intact. The faces and bodies are faded and composited with my abstract photography resembling ashes, residue and rubble that covered the footprint of my former home. Through my portfolio I aim to explore the concepts of memory, survival and the passage of time.

Celine Hartwig, Great Grandma Carmody, 2022, Photograph with nylon thread, 20" x 16"