From Handcuffs to the Group of Seven. Thaddeus Howlownia in Toronto for Show Launch

Handcuffs led to marriage and a strange encounter with Canada's grand master of photography: Thaddeus Holownia. Why it is worth checking out the Jane Corkin Gallery's launch of a new Thaddeus show this  Saturday in Toronto. 
. Huffington Post Blog  by Stephen Weir 

Hollownia Flickr photo by Christopher Mackay

Back story: It was the fall of 1969. Somehow at the age of 16 I got accepted at the new Windsor University and I left my Renfrew home, pretty well for good.  It was me and a huge number of Americans  avoiding the draft and Vietnam who enrolled in an advanced style of Grade 13 - Windsor's Q-Year.

IT was mandatory to live in residence if you made it into Q-year.  Most days were spent in the residence lounge since it was the one room on campus with a working stereo record player. I was listening to Jimi Hendrix for the very first time when a beautiful girl I'd never seen  on campus sat next to me waiting her turn to put on an LP. Before she could play her new album Thaddeus Holownia floated in, dressed like Sgt Pepper with a turkey feather stuck in his hat. He drifted over to us, slapped handcuffs on our wrists and disappeared out the door in his own purple haze!

Thaddeus used to do that a lot - walk around  for days in a haze -- but, this time he did snap out of it and eventually came back and unlocked us. We have been together ever since. My wife and I, not Thaddeus.

In fact I haven't seen Thaddeus much since then. He moved from Windsor, to Toronto and settled eventually teaching art at Mount Allison University in the Maritimes. He also has been taking amazing photographs that are bought up by  art galleries and collectors even before they have dried on the darkroom line,  I promoted a show of his large format landscape photographs at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection ( a government owned gallery in Kleinburg, Ontario ) a decade ago. It was a huge success, thousands of people felt the instant connectivity between his photographs of a  lonely Canadian landscape and the works of the Group of Seven, which surrounded his travelling exhibition.

I told him back then about how he introduced me to my future wife. He feigned to remember the event. We marked each other on Facebook, but, after a couple of years I think he dropped me. Sigh. Old age culling.

I do have chance to renew old acquaintances this Saturday at one of Canada's best photography galleries -The Jane Corkin Gallery in the Distillery District (7 Tank House Lane, Toronto, Ontario).

Thaddeus is travelling west to launch a new exhibition in the Big Smoke. He will be showing photographs of Paris. Jane Corkin says that these photographs "cut through sentimentality, while acknowledging his own mediated attachments, as well as the layered culture, and confrontations between cultures, in this rapidly recomposing city. "

New Book About East Coast Poet John Thompson

He will also unveil a new book "Working in the Dark: Homage to John Thompson" to Ontario book buyers, John Thompson (17 Mar 1938 - 26 Apr 1976) was an English-born Canadian poet who lived on a New Brunswick farm.

This new publication, again according to Corkin "contains a suite of photographs by Thaddeus Holownia, whose studio now stands upon the site of Thompson's home. It also publishes, for the first time, a prose poem by Thompson recently discovered in the Mount Allison University Thompson archives."

Holowonia is suppose to arrive at 2pm and stay to 5pm February 14th, 2015.  Everyone should come and watch the fun. I might just handcuff Thaddeus to Jane Corkin. Let him see how it feels to be chained to a beautiful woman when Nature calls.


46-years later. Maria Nenadovich, Thaddeus Holownia and Stephen Weir at the Corkin Gallery

The show will be continue through the month.


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