October 18 – December 2, 2018
Reception October 25, 2018
R. J. Kern Talk October 25, 2018 7 PM
Las Sombras/The Shadow
“I picked the dead coyote up off the road. It had been hit by a car, probably at dawn that morning. It was surprisingly heavy, but its coat was finer and softer than I had imagined. I was worried it would not fit under the enlarger and that my paper wouldn’t be wide enough, and it was going to be hard work digging a hole to bury it afterwards.
In the mid 19thcentury the daughter of a biologist, an English woman called Anna Atkins (1799-1871) began a decade-long obsession with collecting and documenting algae and seaweed. They were the earliest form of photography, pictures made without a camera, ‘photogenic drawings’ or photograms, in which the subject is laid on light sensitized paper and exposed to light, in this case the sun, using a process known as cyanotype. She self-published this collection in a series of volumes called ‘British Algae’. They were beautiful, otherworldly images of white amorphous shapes floating on a deep blue background. She labeled them in neat Victorian handwriting with their classifying genus and species.
When I first put a eucalyptus leaf on a piece of photographic paper in the dark, in an art school in Australia roughly 130 years later, my fate was sealed – my own obsessions set in motion. The natural world is full of wondrous things to look at and to chronicle and catalogue. In my own way, I have devoted myself to that end.
After I laid the coyote on the photographic paper and gently stroked the dirt and pebbles off its glossy coat and arranged its tail, I thought about Anna arranging her seaweed with the same care and with the same anticipation.
These images are the ghostly shadows of the remains of living creatures, burned onto photographic paper with light and with love, to make a lasting impression.”
– Kate Breakey
Kate Breakey is internationally known for her large-scale, richly hand-colored photographs including her acclaimed series of luminous portraits of birds, flowers and animals in an ongoing series called Small Deaths published in 2001 by University of Texas Press with a foreword by noted art critic, A. D. Coleman. Since 1980 her work has appeared in more than100 one-person exhibitions and in over 60 group exhibitions in the US, France, Japan, Australia, China, and New Zealand. Her work is held in many public institutions including the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University in San Marcos, the Austin Museum of Art, and the Australian National Gallery in Canberra. Her third book, Painted Light, published by the University of Texas in 2010, is a career retrospective that encompasses a quarter century of prolific image making.
Her collection of photograms, entitled ‘Las Sombras / The shadows’ was published by University of Texas Press in October 2012. This series is a continuation of her lifetime investigation of the natural world which in her own words is ‘brimming with fantastic mysterious and beautiful things.
A native of South Australia, Kate moved to Austin, Texas in 1988. She completed a Master of Fine Art degree at the University of Texas in 1991 where she also taught photography in the Department of Art and Art History until 1997. In1999, she moved to Tucson, Arizona. In 2004 she received the Photographer of the Year award from the Houston Center for Photography. She now regularly teaches at the Santa Fe Photographic workshops, and The Italy ‘Spirit into Matter’ workshops.
Her landscape images – selected from a life-time of photographing all over the world – were published by Etherton Gallery in a Catalogue entitled ‘Slow Light’. She currently works with gold-leaf to produce a modern day version of an archaic process called an Orotone, and also uses encaustic wax, a continuation of her interest in ‘blurring lines’ between media.