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Karen Kilimnik Photographs / Edition Patrick Frey

Karen Kilimnik knows a good title, even when it comes to naming photographs: Heathrow Jewels describes the lights of Heathrow at night; Pigeons Practicing for their Esther Williams Water Ballet in Rittenhouse Square depicts a circle of pigeons eating bread in the street; Cache Belonging to the Mountain Lynx refers to a collection of plastic watches lying in the snow. Her imagery confers magic, nostalgia and a bittersweet, wacky sense of life.Following Drawings (1997), Paintings (2001) and Kirschgarten (2005), Photographs is the fourth artist’s book Kilimnik has produced with Edition Patrick Frey. The volume collects over two hundred photographic works taken since 2006. Although there is no sense of the works evolving with any particular serial intent, the artist’s signature “scatter art” sensibility provides a coherent thread throughout. The imagery, too, is consistent with her paintings.

As Patrick Frey explains: “She sometimes has a roving eye, with a terrific feel for the allure and for the metamorphic power of soft focus, and then becomes targeted and sharply focused again. She strays through her world taking pictures of what appeals to her: flowers — they never cease to amaze her, the eye of the camera strolls through meadows and seems to be immersed in bouquets and blossoms; a basket of fresh vegetables like something out of a Cecelia Ahern novel; ballet scenes, among which her own scenery for Psyché at the Paris Opera; food photography ranging from delicate to dégoutant; a lane lined with old lowslung brick buildings in Philadelphia, where she grew up; photos of a TV screen showing children’s faces in a film about the Holocaust; veritable orgies of chandeliers; fuzzy airport lights glittering like sequins; storm-tossed treetops shrouded in mist; a dead bird; the Venetian Lagoon; winter landscapes with snowflakes falling like little lights; Central Park with a horse-drawn carriage in the snow; or a slightly blurred shot of the Flatiron Building behind leafless trees, like a famous vintage print we’re sure we’ve seen somewhere before.”

by Gea Politi