Arts Desk

Reviewed: Karen Knorr at Adamson Gallery

The Adamson Gallery has been on something of an animal kick recently: First it hosted a group show of animal photographs titled “Wild Things,” and now it’s showing “India Song,” a series of photographic works by London-based artist Karen Knorr that features animals making themselves at home in historic palaces and holy spaces in India.

Well, at least the animals look like they’re making themselves at home; in reality, the monkeys, tigers, peacocks and other native fauna are photographed separately, then digitally inserted into the image by the artist (a trick that, with one exception, is executed quite convincingly). Still, as exotic and regal as they are, Knorr’s animals aren’t the part of her work that shines; rather, the interior décor takes a starring role.

Knorr photographed her interiors with a large-format antique camera, using available light and long exposures that serve to saturate and energize the already vibrant frescoes and colored decorative glass. In one image, matrices of boldly colored translucent blocks presage, by centuries, the notion of pixilation; in another, creamy white walls and geometric lines foretell of both art deco and minimalism; and in a third, a synagogue (above) is ringed by an eccentrically multicolored series of glass lamp shades. Ultimately, the works radiate an unexpected, but palpable, sense of peacefulness—quite an accomplishment when you remember that you’re looking at spaces inhabited by elephants and tigers.

Through Oct. 27 at Adamson Gallery, 1515 14th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. (202) 232-0707

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