Ochre and Light
29 June — 30 July 2019
Opening: Saturday, 29 June, 5:00 — 7:00 pm
Fox Galleries is proud to present Ochre and Light by Katie Breckon. Katie Breckon makes photographic, print and installation based work that continuously seeks the intersection between place, time, image and memory. Breckon’s current practice is deeply focused on translating her experiences and observations of living in the remote West Kimberley outback.
“I live on an isolated red dirt road, a savannah surrounded by boab trees, termite mounds and an expansive marshland that stretches to the infamous King Sound.”
This body of work was born from a feeling of homesickness. Living in the remote West Kimberley and returning home to New Zealand once a year means I move between two very different worlds, and neither really understands the other. I grew up in a valley in New Zealand where the sky was long and narrow, and although traveling extensively, it was not until living in the flat savannah surrounding Derby that the absence of hills and mountains became noticeable and overwhelming. For the first time, I realised the comfort those mountainous land formations created.
The Kimberley is saturated in sunlight for most of the year. At times the sun and heat feel unrelenting and I long for winter. I began to have a recurring daydream of standing under mountains in the deep south of New Zealand. It was a subconscious retreat to a place I know. The Deep South, southern end of New Zealand, is where my family settled in the mid 1800s and where many of New Zealand’s renowned artists and writers have drawn inspiration from the lands gothic noir undertones.
Natural pigments became an interest of mine while working for Mowanjum Aboriginal Art & Culture Centre, where ochre colour charts hang from the studio walls. Over the years I have harvested ochre with Ngarinyin people on Wilinggin Country and together we produced a short documentary called Ornmol (Ochre) that explored the cultural meanings, associated language and uses of ochre. Across the world, ochre has many uses including decorative, medicinal and ceremonial. Within the Kimberley, ochre is harvested and deeply symbolic and the colours are different to New Zealand Kokowai (ochre). Initially, I referenced ochre within my artwork as a way to compare my two homes, to visually translate a feeling of belonging and nostalgia for each place and to reference the patient teachers and elders who have shared their culture and stories with me. Permission to integrate and reference ochre in my artwork has been given by Ngarinyin and Worrorra elders and artists.
In the book Dirt Music, author Tim Winton wrote about the red earth, pindan, staining the skin and soul and this metaphor resonated with me. I feel a constant push and pull between the two places I call home.
2016 Certificate 4 in Training and Assessment, North Regional Tafe
2015 Art Business Basics, NAVA
2011 Diploma in Photography (first year) Photographic Studies College, Melbourne
2008 Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching, Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand
2005 Postgraduate Diploma in Visual Arts (Hons), Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne
2004 Bachelor of Fine Arts with Distinction, Whanganui Quay School of the Arts, New Zealand
2002 Diploma in Visual Arts, Wellington Institute of Technology, New Zealand
2017 Deakin University Photographic Award, CCP Salon, Centre For Contemporary Photography, Melbourne
2017 Finalist, Australian Print Commission
2016 Best Portrait, Kimberley Photography Awards
2016 Nominated for the Prix Pictet, Space
2015 Overall Award, Shire of Broome Acquisitive Prize at the Shinju Matsuri Art Awards, Broome
2014 Best Black and White Photo and Overall Winner, Kimberley Photographic Award
2013 Best Inkjet Print, CCP Salon, Centre For Contemporary Photography, Melbourne
2013 Best Still Life Award in entered category, American Aperture Awards, USA
SELECTED RECENT EXHIBITIONS
Party of Special Things, Fox Galleries, Melbourne (group show)
Robert Andrew & Katie Breckon, Fox Galleries, Melbourne (duo)
Safe Keeping, PS Art Space, Perth Centre For Photography, Perth (solo)
Trace Elements, Port Hedland Courthouse Gallery, Hedland, WA
Clip Award, Perth Centre For Photography, Perth
Inflorescence, Studio Hovea, Perth
CCP Salon, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne