Newfoundland Project Terra Nova Suite, 1981-2006

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Thaddeus Holownia

Newfoundland Project Terra Nova Suite, 1981-2006


The Newfoundland and Labrador Project began upon Holownia’s first visit to Newfoundland and has continued to the present. This series in particular represents the intersection of his artistic interests of the last two decades. The social and environmental history of Newfoundland is fertile ground for explorations of the interactions of people and the landscape over time. Although the rocks and crags of the city of St. John's landscape first attracted Holownia, its distinctive architecture became the main subject. His frontal photographic style flattens the visual field and highlights the different layers of urban activity, giving us a sense of St. John's rugged and eclectic topography. 


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.