Thaddeus Holownia

Ova Aves, 2001


Bird eggs take on numerous interpretations. The luminous markings set against a deep black background begin to resemble galaxies, star systems or cosmos, contrasting the most expansive and enormous ideas with the smallest and most insular aspects of the natural world. The eggs thus become symbols of something larger, a visual microcosm that illuminates the enormity of nature and organisms therein.


The art practice of Thaddeus Holownia explores the intersections of humanity and the natural world. His works depict the natural world with both the logical examination of a scientist and the aesthetic appreciation of an artist. Ova Aves, bird eggs of different species, examines immense differences, suggesting the uniqueness of the markings, which like a human fingerprint, are a distinct symbol of individuality.  


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.