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David Hlynsky


  • born in 1947 in the United States
  • immigrated to Canada in 1971
  • grandparents immigrated to the United States from Poland and Ukraine around 1912
  • B.F.A., Ohio State University (1960s)

expanded images click on thumbnails at left to view larger images

A third generation Polish-Ukrainian American, David Hlynsky came to Canada in 1971 to work as a graphic designer at the Coach House Press in Toronto. Hlynsky has worked as a painter, photographer, and holographer. His 1970s photography was primarily concerned with objects of the everyday, highlighting the banal by the sheer obsession of his careful photographic technique in series such as Salvage (1981). Having co-founded Fringe Research, a studio dedicated to the art of holography, with Michael Snowdon in 1974, Hlynsky has used holography to continue the study of the everyday and our perception of it, using the irony of the hologram’s illusion of three-dimensionality as it forces us to question other realities we take for granted. Such work includes Fitsall (1974) a white-light hologram of a bathtub plug on a chain that was exhibited as part of the grand opening of the Fringe Research studio. Writing about the effectiveness of the hologram in art, Hlynsky wrote in 1977: "We enjoy the perceptual acrobatics required to distinguish the real from the unreal. Certain kinds of well-made holographs are almost touchably convincing. There is a sense of power in correctly labelling our illusions and a thrilling danger that some day we might forget the distinction." Between 1986 and 1990, Hlynsky made three photographic trips to eastern Europe, and since then has produced a large body of photographs concerned with the communist regime in Europe and the fall of the Iron Curtain. The 1990 series, Windows through the Curtain, consists of photographs capturing the artist’s reaction to communist Poland and the former Czechoslovakia, where "my most powerful sensation was that these streets were somehow more 'real' than I had imagined. East Bloc citizens were largely occupied by the same routines as my neighbours at home: eating, working and maintaining relationships" (1990). In expressing this through his work, which continued to focus on the everyday, Hlynsky affirmed his belief that "the primary contribution of photography to human expression is its relentless capture of inadvertent detail reminding us (often subliminally) that mundane experience is always more complete than our ideological models" (1990). This kind of photographic commentary was continued in the 1992 series, Moscow Before the Fall. Since 1991 he has been working on Naturae Humanae / Wilderness Camp, a series of still life constructions and tableaux using textures and forms of the Ontario woodlands, with the application of text, and computer drawings contrasted with hand-drawn images. In 1991 he was awarded a commission to create photo murals for the new Metro Toronto Hall. Hlynsky is the former editor of Image Nation magazine, and over the years has written extensively in numerous art and photography magazines. He also co-curated Toronto’s Rolling Landscape Subway Show (1978), involving the installation of art in subway stations, and has collaborated frequently on theatrical and performance art projects in Toronto.



1996 The University of Rhode Island Art Gallery, Rhode Island

The Photographers' Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

Gallery La Gare, l'Annonciation, Québec


1995 Wilderness Camp
Cold City Gallery, Toronto, Ontario


1994 Naturae Humanae
Ottawa School of Art, Ottawa, Ontario

Cold City Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

Windows through the Curtain
Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa, Ontario


1993 Moscow Before the Fall
The Photography Gallery at Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Naturae Humanae
Cold City Gallery, Toronto, Ontario


1992 Langley Centennial Museum, Fort Langley, British Columbia


1991 Trouées dans le rideau
Galerie Vu, Québec, Québec

Justine Barnicke Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

The Gallery Stratford, Stratford, Ontario


1990 David Hlynsky: Windows through the Curtain: An Exhibition of Photographs of Communist Europe prior to the Fall of 1989
Art Gallery of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario

Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops, British Columbia

Photographic/optical projection effects for performance piece by Elizabeth Chitty, Toronto, Ontario


1989 Gallery ZAPF, Krakow, Poland

ACA Gallery, Calgary, Alberta


1988 Peggy's Song
Projected slides for the play by Jim Garrard, Théâtre Passe Muraille

Artspace, Peterborough, Ontario

Merida, Mexico

Krakow, Poland

Toronto Image Works, Toronto, Ontario

Performance Art directed by Elizabeth Chitty, Centre Culturel, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec

Meditations on Banality
Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa, Ontario


1987 Toronto Photographers' Workshop
Gallery TPW, Toronto, Ontario


1986 Galerie Vu, Québec, Québec

Music Gallery, Toronto, Ontario


1985 Gallery 44, Toronto, Ontario

Centre Eye, Calgary, Alberta

Latitude 53, Edmonton, Alberta

Likeness and Artifact
Centennial Gallery, Oakville, Ontario

Galerie Sans Nom, Moncton, New Brunswick


1984 Salon Theatre, Toronto, Ontario

Rivoli, Toronto, Ontario



1998-97 Cutting Edge
Art Fair, Arco, Spain


1994 Montréal Association of Photographers, Montréal, Québec

Old CBC Building, Ontario


1993 Inaugural Exhibition
Cold City Gallery, Toronto, Ontario


1992 Beau: A Reflection on the Nature of Beauty in Photography
Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa, Ontario


1992-90 Lloyds Bank Photographs of Children
Ten city tour


1987 Galeria Klubu MPiC, Poland

Republic Exhibition
ARC, Toronto, Ontario

Gallery 101, Ottawa, Ontario

Music Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

Images in Space and Time
Montréal, Québec; Ottawa, Ontario


1986 Optica, Montréal, Québec

Gallerie Des Foto Video, Krakow, Poland

Performance Art Festival, Winnipeg, Manitoba


1985 National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario

Canada House, London, England

Museum of Holography, Brussels, Belgium

Milton Keynes Centre, Milton Keynes, England

Artspace Gallery, Aberdeen, Scotland

Hologramme Galerie, Amsterdam, Holland

Art Gallery and Museum, Wolverhampton, England

Darlington Arts Centre, Darlington, England

Castel Museum, Nottingham, England

Gallery 44, Toronto, Ontario


1984 Music Gallery, Toronto, Ontario


1983 Matteus Lauk Gallery, Cologne, Germany

Royal Photographic Society, Bath, England

Edinburgh Art Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland

Canadian Holography Now
Canada House Cultural Centre, London, England

A Space, Toronto, Ontario

Franklin Institute of Science, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

IBM Gallery of Science and Art, New York, New York

Chromaliving, Toronto, Ontario

The Hand Holding the Brush: Self Portraits by Canadian Artists
London Regional Art Gallery, London, Ontario


1982 Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, New York

MIT, Boston, Massachussetts

Boston Museum of Science, Boston, Massachussetts

Perceptions: Photographs by Robert Bourdeau, David Hlynsky, Carol Marino, Volker Seding
Art Gallery of Stratford, Stratford, Ontario

Bus Shelter Show
Toronto, Ontario


1981 Museum of Holography, New York, New York

SAW Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario


1980 Centennial Art Gallery, Oakville, Ontario

Station to Station
Subway Show, Toronto, Ontario

Adelaide Festival of Art, Adelaide, South Australia


1979 Gambling on the Future: Holography, Photography and Painting from Fringe Research Inc.
Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Rochester Museum Science Center, Rochester, New York

Jane Corkin Gallery, Toronto, Ontario


1978 Artspace, Peterborough, Ontario

Rolling Landscape
Subway Exhibition, Toronto, Ontario


1977 A Space, Toronto, Ontario

Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York

Museum of Holography, New York, New York


1976 Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, British Columbia

Museum of Holography, New York, New York

The Western Front, Vancouver, British Columbia


1975 International Center of Photography, New York, New York


1974 Present Company
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario


1972 A Space Gallery, Toronto, Ontario



Art Bank, Ottawa, Ontario
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, France
Carlton University Art Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario
Fringe Research Holographics, Toronto, Ontario
Museum of Holography, New York, New York
National Archives of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
National Museum of Science and Technology, Ottawa, Ontario
Ryerson Polytechnical University Mira Goddard Resource Centre, Toronto, Ontario
University of Toronto Art Gallery, Toronto, Ontario




Byrnes, Terry. "A growing concern." Photo Life (1995): 21-25.

The Canada Council Art Bank Catalogue, 1972-1987. Ottawa, Ontario: Canada Council, 1987.

Canadian Art 7, no. 3 (Fall 1990): n.p.

Chitty, Elizabeth, et al. Artists Talk about Technology = Interface: Artistes/techniques. Toronto, Ontario: ANNPAC/RACA, 1985.

Corkin, Jane, et al. Twelve Canadians: Contemporary Canadian Photography. Toronto, Ontario: Jane Corkin Gallery, 1981.

Dault, Gary Michael, and Jane Corkin. Children in Photography: 150 Years. Willowdale, Ontario: Firefly Books, 1990.

Dyck, Sandra J. "Mundane events and banal objects: David Hlynsky's photographs of communist Europe." Literary Review of Canada 7, no. 1 (January/February 1998): 11-16.

Elton, Heather. "David Hlynsky." Vanguard 14, no. 5/6 (Summer 1985): 35-36.

Gore, Tom, et al. The Stereo Show: An Invitational Exhibition dealing with the Illusion of Three Dimensionality, including Stereographs, Anaglyphs, Vectographs, Holograms and Polarized Slides. Victoria, British Columbia: Open Space Gallery, 1982.

Gosselin, Gaëtan, et al. Feuillets d'artistes 1990-1994. Québec, Québec: Vu, 1994.

Hlynsky, David. Baggage. Toronto: Coach House Press, 1974.

--. David Hlynsky: Windows through the Curtain: An Exhibition of Photographs of Communist Europe prior to the Fall of 1989. Windsor, Ontario: Art Gallery of Windsor, 1991.

---. David Hlynsky: Likeness and Artifact. Oakville, Ontario: Oakville Galleries, 1985.

---. "A growing concern: with increasing sensitivity, David Hlynsky explores man, nature and the signs of civilization." Photo Life 20, no. 1 (February/ March 1995): 21- 25.

---. "Learning to appreciate rare art." Canadian Forum (December-January 1977-78): 9.

---. "Naturae Humanae." Descant 26, no. 1 (Spring 1995): 31-40.

---. NOW 2, no. 9 (1983): cover.

---. NOW 2, no. 31 (1982): cover.

---. NOW 3, no. 12 (1983): cover.

---. "Paradise 5 a.m." Canadian Art 10, no. 4 (Winter 1993): 47-51.

---. " 'Peggy's Song' A detective drama by Toronto playwright Jim Garrard is structured around a series of 210 slides and a home video." Photocommunique 10, no. 2 (Summer 1988): 2.

---. Salvage. Toronto: Coach House Press, 1981.

---. "Windows through the Curtain." Canadian Art (Fall 1990): 85-91.

Jirgens, Karl. Toronto Arts News (February 1983)

Langford, Martha. Beau: A Reflection on the Nature of Beauty in Photography. Ottawa, Ontario: Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, 1992.

---. Contemporary Canadian Photography from the Collection of the National Film Board. Edmonton, Alberta: Hurtig Publishers, 1984

NOW 1, no. 48 (August 1982): 19-25.

Pepper, Andrew, et al. Canadian Holography Now. London, England: Canada House Cultural Centre, 1984.

Perdue, Jane. "Hlynsky, David. Satellites . . . A View through the Curtain. Toronto Photographers Workshop." Canadian Art 4, no. 4 (Winter 1987): 92, 94.

Shapiro, Barbara, et al. Parallelogram Retrospective 2, 1977-78. Montréal, Québec: ANNPAC/RACA, 1978.

Signorile, Vito, and Alf Bogusky. Borderlands: Art from the Edge. Windsor, Ontario: Artcite, 1986.

Silverstein, John. Perceptions: Photographs by Robert Bourdeau, David Hlynsky, Carol Marino, Volker Seding. Stratford, Ontario: The Gallery Stratford, 1983.

Stacey, Robert. The Hand Holding the Brush: Self Portraits by Canadian Artists. London, Ontario: London Regional Art Gallery, 1983.

Wagar, David, et al. Gambling on the Future: Holography, Photography and Painting from Fringe Research Inc., September 15 - November 4, 1979, the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Winnipeg, Manitoba: The Gallery, 1979.

Willis, Lionel. "The mind is quicker than the hand." Canadian Forum (December/January 1977-78): 5-8.

Wonnacott, Justin. Blackflash 14, no.2 (Summer 1996): n.p.


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