04/03/2014 04:55 pm ET Updated Jun 03, 2014

New Wave Women: Illumination

New Wave Women: Illumination

Karin Apollonia Müller starts with photographs taken from a space telescope hundreds of miles above the earth. She molds them into a romantic globe, where geography is altered, balanced and harmonized. Inspired by a 17th century drawing of the imaginary sunken city of Atlantis, her collaged continents look drowned or moonlit. Clusters of city lights glowing across stretches of darkness remind her of "fireflies seeking a mate against the blackness of night."

War broke out in her native Lebanon while Mona Hatoum was visiting London in her early twenties. She remained there in exile for the rest of her student years. As a result, her work deals with themes of alienation, displacement, belonging and collective memory.

Moyra Davey's current show's title, Ornament and Rebuke, comes from a gravestone inscription in a London churchyard she photographed. The deceased was "confessedly the ornament and at the same time the tacit reproach of a wicked age." Davey herself is a rebuke to our age. On a newspaper clipping reading, "I think the clever people are those who do" she has written, "as little as possible." Faced with the frenetic pace of this century, Davey slows down time, meditating on single moments, turning them over in her mind, drawing out their melancholy mystery.

In a suite of photographs of a Parisian cemetery, a blurred woman crosses an allée of ghostly trees. We glimpse her, but never really see her, as if she were a phantom or memory. Fragmentary images hint at a momentous yet elusive encounter in this foreign cemetery. Nothing about it is certain, as in reminiscence or dreams. If Moyra Davey's work is an ornament, it is like tinsel, a brilliant wisp of paper reflecting and hinting at what is precious.

Sarah Jones likes to photograph shades of blue, which, in the Renaissance, represented the sublime or distance. From Beckett she learned to strip away all that is not essential. From Rothko she learned to limit her palette and settle on a single formal structure. She says, "I was remembering, as a child, seeing how long I could hold my breath for, and in a sense that's both to freeze the world and also perhaps to freeze yourself within the world. I think that's what I do with my photographs."