Kate Breakey: Stilled Lives January 5 — February 24, 2007

The soft arc of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet's head; the flirtatious pose of a motionless bird; the delicate petal of a blue rose; the explosive color of a flower after it blooms; the delicacy of a feather resting atop a dressed table. Extinction never looked more beautiful than through the eyes of Kate Breakey, whose large scale painted photographs of decaying flowers, aged fruit and lifeless birds pay homage to death and the remaining spirits that persist in her second exhibition, "Stilled Lives."

Kate Breakey first conceived of this project in 1995 as a visiting lecturer at the University of Texas, when she tried to rescue a sparrow from the claws of a cat. As she said in a 1999 interview, "I realized I couldn't help the circumstances of its death, but I could memorialize it in a photograph." This realization gave birth to a project which has spanned more than nine years and can be seen in two books, Small Deaths (1997) and Flowers/Birds (2003).

Like the early practitioners of nature morte or mementos mori paintings and photographs, Breakey embraces death as part of life, understanding their parallels. She is careful to present these stilled lives as they appeared in reality, photographing her subjects in black and white and then painstakingly painting each feather and stamen its true natural color. Enlarging them to 32 x 32", and most recently working 9 x 9", Breakey paints back the colors death has absorbed, using oil paint and colored pencils. These larger-than-life portraits act as memorials to the small creatures found within the desert of Tucson (where she now lives) and in packages sent from friends all over the country. The resulting images are both startlingly beautiful and arresting, as small creatures and objects gain a heroic status. Through Breakey's art, we confront our own mortality and the fears or solace it elicits.

All images are gelatin silver prints, selenium toned and hand-colored with oils and pencils. The 9" Still Lifes are made in editions of 10 and customed framed by the artist. Prices range from $2500 - $4500, depending on how many have sold in the edition. The 32 x 32" images are made in editions of 10 for $3000 - $6000, depending on the image and how many have sold in the edition.

Please call: (312) 266-2350 for prices of specific pieces.
Prices are print only unless otherwise indicated.

Kate Breakey
Alyogyne hakeisolia, Australian Hibiscus, 2004
Kate Breakey
Desert Gobe Mallow II, 1999
Kate Breakey
Hooded Oriole I, 2004
Kate Breakey
New Holland Honeyeater, 2002
Kate Breakey
Rosa, Stirling Silver, 2006
Kate Breakey
Ruby crowned Kinglet, 2006
Kate Breakey
Still Life with Blossom after Van Gogh, 2003
Kate Breakey
Still Life with Eight Radishes, 2005
Kate Breakey
Still Life with Eight Roses, 2005
Kate Breakey
Still Life with Grapes after Georgia O'Keefe, 2005
Kate Breakey
Still Life with Limes in Chinese Bowl, 2005
Kate Breakey
Still Life with Owl Feather, 2005
Kate Breakey
Still Life with Persimmons, 2005
Kate Breakey
Still Life with Three Lemons and Blue Wall, 2005
Kate Breakey
Still Life with Two Quail Eggs, 2005
Kate Breakey
The Gift, 2006
Kate Breakey
The Kiss, 2006
Kate Breakey
Two Roses on a Tablecloth After Manet, 2005