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Small Deaths Redux

MAY 23 - JULY 20, 2008

An Exhibition of Photographs by Kate Breakey

Small Deaths features over thirty extraordinary, hand-colored, oversized images of the birds, flowers, lizards, and insects that photographer Kate Breakey has memorialized through her work. The brilliance of her palette draws viewers to a close-up and unexpected confrontation with mortality.


Making photographic images of small deaths is, in a sense, my own version of natural history museum dioramas--a place where I can come to know my subjects in all their exquisite detail: the iridescence of their feathers, the patterns of their scales, the texture of their bones; a place where I can preserve them with grace and dignity and display them long after their bodies have gone. The difference, though, is that my creatures are not merely specimens, representative of their kind. They are individuals, each with a unique life story, a different tragic death, and each found in different stages of decomposition on their final journey towards dust--for there is beauty also in decay. I make these portraits larger than life. I make them my size, so that we’re on equal ground and we can meet each other eye to eye. I do all this because it is my gesture towards these delicate creatures whose lives and deaths happen all around us without notice, and because they have made an indelible mark on my soul. —KATE BREAKEY—



Breakey’s work has appeared in over 30 one-woman exhibitions and over 30 group exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad. Her photos are held in numerous public collections, among them the San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts; the Houston Museum of Fine Arts; the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, Arizona; the Australian National Gallery; and the Wittliff Collection which hold the major collection. Kate Breakey is from South Australia and currently lives and works outside Tucson, Arizona.

SMALL DEATHS (University of Texas Press, Wittliff Gallery Series, 2001), a full-color book featuring images from the exhibition, is available at major bookstores and through our online shop