In her new paintings and collages, Karen Kilimnik shuffles settings and characters, borrowing theatrical backdrops—or making her own in water-soluble oils—and then rearranging figures on them. Seen as a sequence, the works bring to mind Colorforms, those vinyl sticker sets for playing with dolls in two dimensions, and that association feels right for an artist known for her installations of scattered objects, and for her quirky innocence. Here, she’s decorated reproductions of 18th-century garden paintings and photographs of baroque boudoirs with stickers and cutouts of cats and other cute interlopers; in one, a lone cat perches on a canopied chaise, observing the sparkly angelfish swimming before it. Kilimnik has also painted variations on a vision of an undersea theater inspired, as one of the titles indicates, by the work of 18th-century stage designer Piero Bonifazio Algieri. In one, the coral columns bristle with detail and a scallop sparkles on stage as fish swim overhead; another, sketchier version lets the pink and blue palette blend in broad swaths that guide the eye through the opening beneath the proscenium toward a galleon sailing in the distance. In the back gallery, the lights are off and glitter-smeared paintings wink back at a chandelier’s dim glow; Kilimnik has designed her own theater set, which viewers pass through as players. —Brian Droitcour
Pictured: Karen Kilimnik: medieval dinnertime, 2015, collage on paper, 11½ by 9â? inches. Courtesy 303 Gallery, New York.