The Nature of Nature: The Photographs of Thaddeus Holownia exhibition

40 year retrospective featuring newly created, never before seen works

February 3, 2017, HALIFAX--The Nature of Nature: The Photographs of Thaddeus Holownia, 1976-2016 celebrates forty years of work by Canadian photographer Thaddeus Holownia and runs from February 4 to May 28, 2017. Firmly located within the North American documentary genre, Holownia’s work is engaged with the histories of photography and of places. His unique practice, using predominantly analogue technologies, merges high craft with prolonged inquiry as his projects span years if not decades. This exhibition curated by Sarah Fillmore and David Diviney, offers insight into Holownia’s art-making from the late 1970s to the present day through more than 180 photographs and features newly created works on exhibition for the first time.  

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 the landscape. The result is both an
anecdote of an ordinary place and a metaphor for our relationship
to place and environment. What emerges is a sense of vulnerability
and the inexorable force of time.  

– Thaddeus Holownia


From the earliest image included in The Nature of Nature to the most recent, Holownia’s distinct vision is apparent: his photographs convey a profound sense that the world around us and our interaction with it needs to be examined. For Holownia, in observing nature lies an opportunity to observe our very own nature and looking intelligently, while sharing that vantage point with us, is an end in and of itself. 2017 marks the 200th anniversary of American writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau’s birth. His seminal piece of writing Walden, written in 1854, serves as apt backdrop. Holownia’s work echoes Thoreau’s observation, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

On Sunday, February 5, at 2:00 pm the Gallery is offering a Curator and Artist, Talk and Tour. This event will offer a tour and dialogue with the curators and the artist. All are welcome. Admission rates apply (free for Gallery members).

Immediately following the Curator and Artist, Talk and Tour (Sun., Feb. 5) there will be a book launch for the newest collaborative work by Thaddeus Holownia and Nova Scotia poet Harry Thurston, Icarus, Falling of Birds with Holownia and Thurston in attendance. The  book is based on a tragic event of September 13th, 2013, when flocks of songbirds on their migratory journey south were attracted, to a hundred-foot-high flare at the Canaport Liquefied Natural Gas plant in Saint John, New Brunswick. The photographs from this publication also form a 17-foot-long installation, Icarus, Falling of Birds, which will be featured as part of exhibition The Nature of Nature: The Photographs of Thaddeus Holownia, 1976-2016.

The Nature of Nature: The Photographs of Thaddeus Holownia, 1976-2016 runs until May 28, 2017 at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.


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Media – Interviews & Image Requests:
Amy Batchelor
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
amy.batchelor@novascotia.ca
(902) 424-7754



About Thaddeus Holownia
Thaddeus Holownia, is a visual artist, teacher, letterpress printer, and publisher. Holownia was born in England in 1949 and immigrated to Canada in 1954. He completed a BA in Communication and Fine Arts at University of Windsor in 1972. Currently he is a professor and head of the Fine Arts Department at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick where he has taught since 1977.

Holownia’s work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions, including Thaddeus Holownia: The Terra Nova Suite, a twenty-five-year survey of his work in Newfoundland & Labrador at the Provincial Gallery (The Rooms) in St. John’s Newfoundland. His 1998 mid-career retrospective exhibition, Extended Vision: Photographs by Thaddeus Holownia 1978 -1997, organized by the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, traveled across Canada and to the Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City. His photographs have been included in numerous group exhibitions, including Monet’s Legacy: Series, Order and Obsession at the Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany and Car Culture at the Heckscher Museum in Huntington, New York.

Holownia is a Fulbright Fellow, and elected member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. He has twice received the Paul Paré Medal from Mount Allison University in recognition of excellence in teaching, creative activity, research, and community service. Recent awards include the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for High Achievement in the Visual Arts from artsNB and the Order of New Brunswick.


About the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is Atlantic Canada’s largest arts museum. With locations in downtown Halifax and downtown Yarmouth, it houses the province’s art collection and offers a range of innovative exhibitions and programming. www.artgalleryofnovascotia.ca