Posts Tagged ‘Kate Breakey’

Equal Pay Day

March 24, 2017

The next Equal Pay Day is Tuesday, April 4, 2017. This date symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.1

I just got this email from the American Association of University Women:

April 4 is Equal Pay Day, and to mark this powerful day of action AAUW is offering a discounted introductory membership rate of just $21, of which $19 is tax deductible.
Right now the pay gap is so wide and closing so slowly that women will have to wait 135 years to receive equal pay. If we don’t step up now, the gender pay gap won’t close until the year 2152! I know you think that’s unacceptable, so please join.

This link has my code for your discount:

Seen This Month

A woman driving a small silver BMW convertible with the top down, a tiny gold glitter Mickey Mouse cap at the top of its aerial.  It is cool and threatening rain yesterday, but a few days ago, when the weather was in the 90’s, I also saw two other convertibles with their tops down.

Then there was the young man leaving the Y with his two-year-old daughter on his arm, explaining why the car in the parking lot had no roof.  Why doesn’t it have a roof? He replied, So the wind can blow through your hair.

A dove made a typically flimsy nest near my kitchen window.  It laid two eggs and now has two young’uns.

I’ve been here a month and the lizards are just coming back into the yard.  The previous renters had a dog and the lizards have just figured out that the dog’s no longer a threat.

Lambert Lane, my east/west artery, is closed for three months, to widen it from two lanes to four.  But before they closed it, we were driving 25 mph as construction workers played in the dirt on each side, scraping away any plant life, moving dirt, concreting a hillside, and so on.  Was checking out a house right next to the construction – three coyotes were on the steep driveway, checking out something in the lot further on.  Usually when you see three together, it’s a mother and two pups.  These pups were well-grown.

There were a few items in this “new” house that had not been cleaned in a while.  One was the small storage shed.  Found, in addition to all of the screens that had fallen off the windows (’cause they had been velcroed on, and the velco had dried up), three desiccated pack rats, what looked like a mother and her pups.  Plus all of the stuff they had chewed up, along with the droppings.  Yuck!  (No – I did not take a photo, but here is one of my potted flowers, grass, and herbs, very happy to have morning sun.)


The Louis Carlos Bernal Gallery, at the Pima College West Campus, had a showing which ended at the beginning of this month, STILLNESS. Our Contemporary Art Society went to the reception.  I love these descriptions from the Tucson Weekly.  (My photos were just taken with my phone.)

Kate Breakey, an internationally known photographer, lives in the desert outside Tucson. She makes gorgeous photos of desert moons and of the ocean waters of her native Australia, but most often, as she does here, she zeroes in on lifeless animals.

Constantly trying out new media, this time she has used waxy encaustic paint and pencil atop the black-and-white archival digital prints of her new series, Taxonomy of Memory, a wall-full of 34 works. The encaustics add a creamy texture to her views of the desert’s dead… a vermillion flycatcher…  She lays out small corpses that she finds on trails, and makes haunting pictures of them, blowing them up to grand proportions. As she writes, “A thing fills with exactly the radiance you accord it.”

Colin Blakely, newish head of the UA School of Art—he started in 2015—makes his community debut with an elegant suite of landscape photos…  Blakely’s “Yosemite Valley” is after an 1875 oil by Bierstadt, who painted Yosemite over and over. Both painters helped mythologize the monumental landscapes of the new American nation; in their art of the sublime, the grandeur of a thundering waterfall or a soaring western peak suggested the greatness of America.

Blakely contends that these mythical place exist in some ways only in “our collective cultural imagination.” To “disrupt” those familiar landscapes, he switches the medium from classic oils to archival pigment prints spit out by a computer printers. He ratchets up or tones down the color, and even shifts some elements in the compositions.

…a fairytale forest of golden trees.  In this dazzling installation by Sean-Paul Pluguez, no fewer than 100 “trees” are lined up neatly, row on row, planted into low birch platforms. Bending slightly, as real trees do, they curve upward toward an imagined sky, reaching about six feet into the air.

The trees are actually grape stakes, rough wooden posts that normally would be used to hold up grape vines in a vineyard. But they’ve been transformed by glimmering 24-carat gold leaf, painstakingly applied by the artist over the course of a year. The gold catches the light, and it’s thick and textured, dipping into hollows in the stakes or pushing outwards into lines and patterns.

“The Genetically Modified Forest” is a thing of beauty—who can resist the allure of gold?—but it carries a warning. The stakes are sharp and pointed at the top. And as many fairytale heroines have found, all that glitters is not really gold.

As Pluguez notes in an artist statement, the piece “speaks of man’s limited abilities to deal with his own planet.” We may think we can clear-cut our real forests with impunity or that we can dump coal dust into our streams, a practice lately authorized by our new leaders in Washington.

We can’t disobey the laws of nature for long. When we pollute our rivers, we lose our drinking water, and when we ax our trees, we lose their life-giving abilities to filter out carbon dioxide from the air and provide us with oxygen. A pretty fake forest is no substitute for a real one.

Even so, Pluguez’s meditative installation is a paean to the beauty and stillness of the natural world, properly preserved. It’s the anchor for a group show about nature aptly called Stillness; all four of its artists create a sense of calm in works that cover landscape, animals and the human body.2


Twin Falls

March 21, 2013

I spent last week in Twin Falls, Idaho with my daughter’s family as I had a week off from teaching for spring break.

My oldest grandchild made immediate friends in first grade.  The middle child lucked out with one opening in the preschool.  (Kid had just left.)    And the one hospital has a nursing position for my daughter, but the the two youngest are back-listed for daycare.

The elementary school is two blocks in one direction, a lovely walk, and the preschool two blocks in a perpendicular direction.  The convenience of a small town!  (Population less than 45 thousand, quite a difference from the Phoenix Metro Area, from which they moved, of over 4 million.)

templeTwin Falls has a large Mormon Temple, pure white as they all are, with the angel Moroni blowing his trumpet on the top of the spire.  (Photo from the Net.)  At night the lighting is very dramatic; it looks like it’s covered in glowing snow.  Turns out my in my daughter’s neighborhood, their family and the elderly (= older than I am) couple across the street are the only non-Mormons.  Guess she shouldn’t have asked another mom out for coffee!  And they can’t invite anyone in for drinks.  Difficult crowd to crash.  But the nearby preschool and daycare are at a Lutheran church, so that should help them make friends.

Didn’t have my camera when we took an early-morning stroll through Rock Creek Park, a lovely grassy park along a small river, bounded by low cliffs, full of rock chucks (yellow-bellied marmots).  rock chuckLooked them up online (see photo) and discovered that a nearby Idaho town has Rock Chuck Derby where over 500 hunters try to kill the largest rock chuck they can.  Anyway, these cute critters were collecting grasses for their nests in the crevices of the rocky cliffs, in preparation for young ‘uns.

balance rockMy granddaughter skipped school one day to join us for a “hike” (which is more of an easy walk when you have a four- and two-year-old in tow) and picnic in Balance Rock Park.  I did take this photo of the “famous” balance rock.

Because the two dogs were with us the only wild creatures we saw were birds.  (Lots of pigeons – the cliffs just cooed – and two red-tailed hawks lifting on the thermals above the canyon.


When I left Twin on Sunday it was 33°, with a light dusting of snow.  Got off the plane in Phoenix, 83°.  Wildflowers in yellow and orange along I10 driving back to Tucson.  wildflowers 018Silverbell Road lined with feathery cassia blooming sulfur yellow.   Even the ocotillos were leafed out, many with their red tongues of flowers, even my own ocotillo, which had looked dead for the first two years.  My wildflowers have blue blossoms; my snaps are dance redstarting to open.

My arugula and mizuna (mustard greens) have bolted, so they’re a bit woody, so I must eat two salads a day to consume them.  My Phoenix cousin (who kept my car in Phoenix and drove me to and from the airport) gave me a bag of lemons from her tree.  Yum.  Have mad lemon cod dance blue(best recipe for cod, and so easy!), lemon rice pilaf, a lemon dressing for my salads, stir-fry lemon chicken, tilapia with lemon, lemon bread.

On Monday realized that the Art Museum architecture tour (which includes my house) will be Saturday!  Had been thinking that I had dance greenanother week.  Had my windows cleaned yesterday and the carpet cleaned today.  And have “Buddy”1 cleaning the floors.

Ordered my three Cuban Dancer canvases (red, blue,green, shown) online2,  unfortunately, too late to hang them for the tour.

Kate Breakey

kate1Yesterday evening went to a talk by Kate Breakey about her Creatures of Light and Darkness exhibit by Etherton Gallery, showing at the Temple Gallery.  Huge photographs (40” x 70”+) taken with a small motion-detecting infrared surveillance camera.  She sets up the camera in her desert yard on a rock, with bungee cords.  Once a week she takes out the chip and looks over the thousand photos to see if there are any good ones.  She said she bought her camera for $400 years ago, but it now sells for $200.  The internet has a variety from $50.

kate3Coyotes are shy of the tiny click.  Bobcats walk up to the camera and swat it with a paw, or urinate on it.  (Luckily it’s waterproof.)  Javelinas will nose it off the rock (resulting in the rest of the week’s photos of clouds).  At one point she had covered the camera with a box, thinking that it got too hot in the desert sun, and then the mice moved in with it.  Photos of them sleeping next to the camera (all fur).

Because the photos are heavily pixelated, she then paints over the animals, brush strokes of hair, to make them “pop out”.  I noticed that she has a tiny signature in the bottom right corner.  (The Net had said that photos are not signed, except maybe on the mat, but hers are more than photos.)

The photos sell at Etherton for $5,500 each.  But Kate said that printing and framing one costs $900 before she even starts to paint.  (So much for me blowing up one of my photos that large.)3



January 26, 2013

Last night the Tucson Museum of Art opened its new exhibit, Desert Grasslands, curated by Julie Sasse, who I got to know on TMA’s trip to Cuba.  I especially like the photography.   Like these individual strands of grass by Matilda Essig1 and Stephen Strom2.

strom grassEssig grass

This is my favorite of Guggenheim Fellow landscape photographer Michael Berman’s black and white prints.

berman peloncillo mountains

Dornith Doherty uses Xrays.

After receiving x-ray training from CSU’s Radiation Control Office, the artist Dornith Doherty spent the summer of 2009 producing x-ray photographs of seeds and tissue samples of cloned plants.doherty grass[She] digitally manipulates the x-ray shots to create mandala shapes and organic designs, with the goal to evoke ecological concerns. … although the transparency of the images is almost ethereal, it is easy to recognize the organic subject matter, which is the artist’s focus.3

kitchel grass

I had been to Mayme Kratz’s studio three weeks ago.4  Her birds’ nests and grasses laid out as a sunburst in resin are in the show.  (We were not allowed to take photographs of the exhibit so all of these photos are from the respective websites.) Loved Karen Kitchel’s painting of grasses that look like photographs5.

Then there are the animals of the desert.  Kate Breakey does photograms.


Kate drags actual corpses (including a coyote, rabbits, lizards, snakes and various birds) into her studio, lays them on photosensitive paper and then shines light onto them.  The animals then get a proper burial, and the paper gets dipped into developing chemicals which causes these images to appear. 6


Joseph Scheer uses a high resolution scanner to make huge prints of moths7.  (This is just a detail!)

moira-6Moira Geoffrion, fellow member of the Contemporary Art Society, and former head of the University of Arizona Arts department, has 117 oil paintings of birds8 in the show.

Please check out the websites to see more of their work.  And see the show!


It rained throughout the night and just stopped with morning – drips from the roof tapping at the metal stairs, diamonds of raindrops on the end of each acacia twig, on each creosote leaf, sparkling in a splash of sunlight.  All of the mesquite leaves, withered by the freeze two weeks ago, have been washed from the trees and coat the ground in a dusty celadon.

Tire Pressure and the Assault Weapons Ban

Now that I have a car that has a dashboard indicator light to tell me when a tire is five pounds below its recommended pressure (my previous car did not, and I only filled the tires when they looked low), once a month the light comes on.  The air pumps at the gas station (which say that you have to insert four quarters, but if you ask the person in the glass booth, as there are no longer gas station attendants, only cashiers who also sell junk food, he or she will turn on the air for you) are difficult to use, and I often lose more air than I put in.

So I go a mile and a half out of my way to my mechanic and he pumps up my tires, no charge.  (I did have a nail in one tire that had caused a slow leak of air, but that was found when I went to Discount Tires where I had bought them and they removed it, also no charge.)

But I digress.  “My” mechanic, the guy who now owns Erv’s Automotive, is so far right with his (often expressed) opinions that it makes me crazy.  (Think the previous time I was in there he was spouting off about illegal aliens.)  He’s of the pry it from my cold, dead hands school of gun ownership.  Told me that the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School hadn’t happened!  Was just a story trumped up so the Democrats could take their guns away!  (Did you notice that none of the parents were crying?)  This theory of his and I bet he never even heard of the movie, Wag the Dog.

Segue into Gun Control.  You can read Senator Feinstein’s entire assault weapons ban bill on the website.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, introduced a bill that would ban the sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of 100 specialty firearms and certain semiautomatic weapons. The bill would also outlaw the sale, importation and manufacture of ammunition magazines that accept more than 10 rounds.9

My friend in DC, retired Navy, contends that the Second Amendment is being misinterpreted, and that it is the right of the militia to keep and bear arms, not of the general populace.

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Ok, it’s up to all of you now.  I’ve blogged about the necessity for an assault weapons ban.10  I’ve copied the relevant text in that blog to my Senators, McCain and Flake, and to my Congressman, Grijalva.  But all of you must email, call, or write to your senators and congressmen.

As the President said:  “This will not happen unless the American people demand it.”

That means all of us. President Obama has called on all of us to ask our members of Congress to support the president’s recommendations for real change. If they tell you that they don’t support these measures, ask them, “Why not?”  Ask them, “What is more important than keeping our families safe?” 11

And thank Dianne. 12