1977–2009 · Dykelands

The landscape around Sackville, known as the Tantramar marshes, reclaimed by Acadian settlers in the mid 1600’s through the building of dykes to hold back the powerful Bay of Fundy tides, continues to inspire.

In Dykelands, Holownia pays tribute to the Tantramar Marsh’s long-standing but uneasy truce between the organic and the technological. Simultaneously, he celebrates the elusive and subtle beauty of this area. His photographs capture the effects of light and wind which transform the seemingly unremarkable flat marshland into a tempestuous whirlwind at one moment and a frozen stillness at the next. Often these views are interrupted by the evidence of human presence: a group of cultivates trees planted in a tidy row, furrows carved out by a plough, a farmhouse in the distance, a series of radio towers on the horizon.

Whether in his recent bookworks or in his photographic prints made over the past twenty-three years, Thaddeus Holownia has been profoundly and unwaveringly committed to exploring the specific — a geographical site, a moment in time, an artifact — in order, paradoxically, to unveil the universal. Throughout his landscapes, urban images, photographs of found objects and depictions of “car culture,” he prompts us to see the commonplace anew. With pictorial exactitude and sensitivity to the complex histories and profound beauty of the everyday, his photography invites us to extend our vision.

Carol Payne
Extended Vision: the Photography of Thaddeus Holownia
Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, 1998

Collection of the Owens Art Gallery.