On display: Photographer Thaddeus Holownia’s art-making in “The Nature of Nature”
Poetic and meditative, striking in simplicity, the clever use of light and color to evoke emotions within the viewer – these are just some of the ways to describe the artistry of celebrated photographer Thaddeus Holownia.
The New Brunswick-based teacher and visual artist is known for his work that is firmly entrenched in the histories of photography and of places, and of man’s relationship to place and environment.
As Holownia himself says of his work, “The meaning that resides in my bodies of work goes beyond visual description; they stand as a history of the play between human intervention and landscape.”
His photographs, cultivated through 40 years of creating art spanning from the late 1970s to present day, will be on display at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax until May 28, 2017.
Entitled “The Nature of Nature: The Photographs of Thaddeus Holownia, 1976-2016,” the exhibition will showcase more than 180 of Holownia’s photographs, many of which highlight the beauty of nature and the interplay of light.
“His unique practice, using predominantly analogue techniques, merges high craft with prolonged inquiry as his projects span years if not decades,” the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia says of the exhibition.
Among some of the pieces on display: the haunting image of Icarus, Falling of Birds, a 17-foot-high print showing hundreds of birds killed when they flew into a flare at a gas facility in New Brunswick. There’s also Anatomy Lesson-Moose, where Holownia photographed individual moose bones he found in Newfoundland, in what he describes as “hieroglyphics,” and “a language of life and death.” In his series Jolicure Pond, 1996-2004, Holownia fixed his lenses out onto his own backyard, capturing the changing nature of light.
For years, Holownia has worked mainly in black-and-white and using a large-format 7-by-17 view camera, preferring it because of its tonality and richness. He has also taken to revisiting some of the sites he had photographed before, recording the changes between what had been and what was now before him.
“There’s a neat history that begins to unravel when things are left to nature. It talks about the passage of time,” he was quoted saying on LocalXpress.ca.
His dedication to his craft has not gone unnoticed. Curator David Diviney, who co-curated the exhibit with Sarah Fillmore, said Holownia’s focus and attention to detail “makes visible what we otherwise might not have seen.”
“What I’ve always appreciated about his work is his steadfast commitment to the discipline and practice and an interest in looking at the natural world and our interactions with it, and the sense that relationship must be examined,” he says.
The “Nature of Nature” exhibit is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday at the Art Gallery. Admission is free for members and $12 for adults. Check out the full admission rates and gallery hours here.