Thaddeus Holownia

Jolicure Pond, 1996-2003


The series Jolicure Pond – named after the artificial pond near the home of Thaddeus Holownia in his native New Brunswick – focuses on the changing appearance of a deceptively simple landscape.  The photographs capture the natural fluctuations of light and season against an unnatural and entirely constructed terrain.  Our awareness of nature’s ever-changing palette is heightened by atmospheric colour. The effect is both rich in detail and seemingly abstract.  Details of water, field, sky, fence, and distant human activity are all conscripted as formal elements.  The variations in Jolicure Pond are unified by two constants, the pond and the distant horizon line.  By focusing the work on the caprice of optical effects against serial landscapes, Holownia asks us to consider the interplay between transience and permanence.  


Thaddeus Holownia explores the intersections of nature and humanity. Specifically, he deals with how humanity changes landscape, how the forces of nature mould human structures, and how the two coexist. His work calls attention to various ecological and political issues that are of growing concern. Holownia's practice uses altered landscapes to convey the precarious relationship between man and nature. To expose these landscapes he returns to a place over years, even decades, and creates a photographic catalogue of the transformation.

As a young artist, Holownia was part of Toronto’s hip and burgeoning art scene. He left Toronto in 1977 for a two-year teaching job at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. Professor Holownia became Head of the Photography Department and is now Head of the Fine Arts Department. Enchanted by his surroundings, Holownia remained there and has never returned to living in an urban environment. His move to the Maritimes served to heighten his awareness of deeper moral and spiritual issues that are now the foundations of his ecologically conscious work.