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Kate Breakey & the Orotone

Kate Breakey, Dried Orchid in Jar, Archival pigment print and 24k gold leaf, 6.5 x 5.5", Edition of 20, $1200 (Framed)

photo-eye Gallery is thrilled to present a selection of new images of orotones from Kate Breakey! The artist has been working with this process continuously throughout the last twenty years and all of these pieces are available to view in the gallery.

Kate Breakey is an artist who likes to take her time. Over the last four decades, the artist has amassed an impressive and intricate body of work; from delicately embroidered images printed on silk to the hand-painted negatives that she is known for, Breakey applies a razor-sharp eye for detail and aesthetic harmony to every process that she approaches.

One of the methods of working that Breakey is known for is the orotone. If you were to break it down, an orotone is exactly what it sounds like — an image that is granted luminescent tonality through the use of gold backing. This process is historic with roots in the early history of photography. It was used and refined by the studio of Edward S. Curtis (an inspiration of Breakey's) throughout the mid-1800s; he's often credited as one of the most important innovators of the technique. Breakey's updated technique, which involves producing images on glass plates with an inkjet printer (which are then backed with 24k gold leaf), achieves a similar tonal effect as that of  Curtis'. Breakey allows for her subjects to double as specimens (or stand in as constructed tableaus) and this, too, feels like a nod to some of the early uses of photography as a means of documenting the formal qualities of objects in the natural world in the same vein as Anna Atkins' cyanotypes. 

Though her focus spans the natural world, Breakey's orotones are all photographed in a way that echoes paintings from Dutch and Flemish antiquity. The golden glow emitted by these images draws attention to the subtle beauties in our day-to-day life that hearken back to classical or neo-classical aesthetic principles. The results of her approach are a plethora of images that are beautiful as well as timeless, take a look at more of the orotones that we have on view below!

Kate Breakey, Blue Vase, Red Berries, Archival pigment print and 24k gold leaf, 8.5 x 4.5", Edition of 20, $1200 (Framed)

Kate Breakey, White Koi, 2014, Archival pigment print and 24k gold leaf, 6 x 7.5", Edition of 20, $1170 (Framed)

Kate Breakey, Sprouting Onion, Archival pigment print and 24k gold leaf, 5.5 x 4.5", Edition of 20, $1170 (Framed)

Kate Breakey, Horny Toad Lizard, Archival pigment print and 24k gold leaf, 6.5 x 5.5", Edition of 20, $1200 (Framed)

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Print costs are current up to the time of posting and are subject to change.

photo-eye Gallery is proud to represent Kate Breakey.

For more information, and to purchase prints by Kate Breakey, please contact Gallery Director Anne Kelly or Gallery Assistant Delaney Hoffman, or you may also call us at 505-988-5152 x202

photo-eye Gallery New Works from Kate Breakey Delaney Hoffman
This week we're highlighting some beautiful loose prints that have recently arrived in the gallery from represented artist Christopher Colville. Colville is known for his spontaneous compositions made by exploring the possibilities of gunpowder as a photographic tool. Learn more about this process-oriented work and see what's available to view below!