Kate Breakey Moves in an Interesting Direction with "Painted Light"

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

I've never been a huge fan of Kate Breakey's work. Breakey's stock-in-trade is painstakingly hand-painted photographs of cut flowers and dead birds. The "deadness" of both is a particular area of interest to the artist. The results are colorful, treacly and crowd-pleasingly decorative.

But in a wall installation of new work at McMurtrey Gallery, Breakey has taken her death fixation in a much more interesting direction.

She's making photograms by taking plants and insects and roadkill, laying them on light-sensitive paper and then exposing it.  The results are soft-edged, sepia-toned silhouettes against black backgrounds: ferns, tarantulas, birds, coyotes and snakes. (The snakes have an especially nice graphic quality.)

The artist presents the variously sized images in an assortment of vintage frames - big for coyote, small for tarantula. Clustered together salon-style on one wall, the works are incredibly poignant and evocative, presenting death like a Victorian collection. The viewer is left to imagine the details.

This straightforward approach elegantly conveys the emotion Breakey has been trying for in her far more involved and overwrought painted photographs.

The show runs through April 23 at McMurtrey Gallery, 3508 Lake Street. For information, call 713-523-8238.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.