British-born Canadian photographer Thaddeus Holownia predominantly works with large-format cameras, producing black-and-white and color images of the natural world—meditations on time, atmospheric changes, and human intrusions into the environment. For his series “24 Tree Studies for Henry David Thoreau”, Holownia visited Walden Pond in all seasons over the course of two years—echoing Thoreau’s time spent in the area—and produced an intimate portrait of the forest through studies of trees. For Anatomy Lesson—Moose (2006), Holownia constructed a wall of individual bones and bone fragments from a moose skeleton he found while walking in the Newfoundland wilderness. The artist’s careful organization and study of the creature’s anatomy constitutes a sort of memorial to its prior existence. His photographic series of an artificial pond near his home in “New Brunswick, Jolicure Pond”, 1994-2004, documents the interaction between unnatural and natural elements of a landscape. – Artsy
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.