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Common Threads: Kate Breakey's Exploratory Approach to Process


photo-eye Gallery Common Threads Kate Breakey's Exploratory Process Alexandra Jo Breakey’s series of embroidered nests is distinct in the Tree Stories exhibition. However, it is the consistent exploration of materials and open approach to process in Breakey's practice that truly ties each individual work in the show to all the others.

Kate Breakey, Nest 9, Hand-embroidered archival pigment print on silk, 24 x 24 inches, Edition of 20, $2,290 Framed 

Most of the works in Tree Stories, photo-eye Gallery's current exhibition of works by Kate Breakey, are images of the same subject: trees. However, the exhibition actually features photographic works from three different bodies of Breakey’s work, each of which explores a different photographic process or technique. Her shimmering gold orotones feel extremely different than the smoky, soft aesthetic of her hand-colored archival pigment prints, which are divergent in aesthetic from her hand-embroidered prints on silk. Across the board, it not just consistency of subject matter, but the exploration of materials and open approach to process that truly ties each work in the show to all the others.

Kate Breakey, Nest 35, Hand-embroidered archival pigment print on silk
20 x 20 inches, Edition of 20, $2,030 Framed
Breakey’s series of embroidered nests is distinct in the exhibition. These archival pigment prints on silk, which the artist delicately, laboriously, embroiders by hand, have a dimensional objecthood that stands apart from the other works in the show. Viewers are drawn into the intricate, threaded details and soft tones of these works by cast shadows and the subtle but impactful shifts in surface texture. The silk panels are pinned inside shadow-box frames, which adds to the works’ legible sense of depth.

These works are intimate and visually gentle, but hold a strong presence in the gallery space. Breakey’s choice to make the nest images in a larger-than-life scale is impactful. This offers audiences a chance to inspect details in each nest, and highlights how each structure is unique to the needs and instincts of the creature that built it. These images aren’t pictures of trees like the works in the rest of the show, but rather, images of tree materials put to utilitarian use. The ingenuity and attention to detail in Breakey’s exploration of process acts as a bridge between each of the nests and the wider exhibition.

Kate Breakey, Nest 32, Hand-embroidered archival pigment print on silk, 24 x 24 inches, Edition of 20, $2,290 Framed

Tree Stories is on view at photo-eye Gallery through February 22nd, 2020

ABOUT THE ARTIST
Kate Breakey was born in Adelaide, Australia and received her MFA in photography from the University of Texas, Austin in 1991. Breakey is known for working in a multitude of photographic techniques, including large-scale, hand-colored archival pigment prints, gold-leaf backed orotones printed on glass, and hand-embroidered images printed on silk. Since 1981 her work has appeared in more than 75 solo exhibitions and more than 50 group exhibitions in the United States, France, Japan, Australia, China, and New Zealand.

All prices listed were current at the time this post was published.

For more information, and to purchase artworks, please contact photo-eye Gallery Staff at:
(505) 988-5152 x 202 or gallery@photoeye.com


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