Sigrid Eilertson likes to paint surrealistic images of creatures that straddle the line between the realistic and the fantastic, like larger-than-life goddesses and wild animals. She always works in a series, and she tends to work large—many of her paintings are 6 feet or taller.
But for her most recent series, “Star Creatures: An Exploration of Astrological Signs in Mixed Media Collages,” on view this month at Studio IX, she painted the 12 signs of the Western zodiac on a different scale:
None of the works is more than 20 inches on one side, and she says this series was unusually intimate, not just in scale but in subject matter.
“Star Creatures” explores in animal form the traits embodied by each zodiac sign. Some of the Western zodiac signs are already represented animalistically, and for those signs, she says the challenge rested in painting the intangible traits: How to represent, in fish form, the highly emotional, deep-thinking Pisces (her own sign)?
For the signs that are usually depicted in human form, Eilertson had to be a bit more creative, seeking out an animal on her own. When she thinks of Virgo, she thinks of strength, attention to detail, perfection: a horse with a moon in the center of its forehead. A Gemini, like her son, is social, curious, chatty: a talkative half-purple, half-white cat.
Eilertson, an art therapist, is compelled to paint animals because they’re closer to the earth, to survival and primal instincts. They don’t get caught up in the emotional minutiae that consumes humans, and that purity is alluring. It’s part of what gives these paintings an otherworldly feeling, says Eilertson. “I feel like there’s magic in this series.” —Erin O’Hare
Annie Gould Gallery 121B S. Main St., Gordonsville. An exhibition of works by Morganne Ashlie, Jennie Carr, Susan Graeber, Louise Greer and Valerie Sargent.
Art on the Trax 5784 Three Notch’d Rd., Crozet. “Flight,” featuring Phil Radcliffe’s watercolor paintings that show an affection for aircraft and adventure with a love of nature. Opens Feb. 10.
FF The Bridge PAI 2019 Monticello Rd. “Face to Face: Portraits of our Vibrant City,” an exhibit of work that uses the intimate process of portraiture to connect artists and community members who have different life experiences. 5:30-9:30pm.
FF Chroma Projects 103 W. Water St. “Still: Photographs by Fax Ayers,” a showing of playfully composed scenes conveyed in a 17th-century Dutch manner. 5-7pm.
FF City Clay 700 Harris St. Ste. 104. An exhibition of recent work by ceramics artist Rebekah Wostrel. 5:30-7:30pm.
FF CitySpace Art Gallery 100 Fifth St. NE. “Main Street Project,” a photography show; and “Redesigning Emancipation Park,” an exhibit of design proposals developed by UVA School of Architecture students. 5:30-7:30pm.
Crozet Artisan Depot 5791 Three Notch’d Rd., Crozet. “The Art of Chocolate,” featuring the edible work of Cocoa & Spice chocolatier Jennifer Mowad.
FF C’Ville Arts Cooperative Gallery 118 E. Main St. “Fanciful Felted Fashions,” an exhibition of wearable work by fiber and felting artist Karen Shapscott. 6-8pm.
FF Dovetail Design + Cabinetry 309 E. Water St. “Paintings of Italy,” featuring oil paintings of outdoor scenery in the villages of Umbria and Tuscany by Karyn Gunther Smith. 5-7pm.
The Fralin Museum of Art 155 Rugby Rd. “Feminine Likeness: Portraits of Women by American Artists, 1809-1960,” featuring works from The Fralin Museum of Art collection; “A Painter’s Hand: The Monotypes of Adolph Gottlieb,” an exhibit of works from one of the original Abstract Expressionists, and “From the Grounds Up: Thomas Jefferson’s Architecture and Design”; “Oriforme” by Jean Arp; and in the Joanne B. Robinson Object Study Gallery, a set of objects including Chinese bronzes, ceramics and sculpture, ancient Mediterranean coins, African masks and figures and more.
FF Indoor Biotechnologies 700 Harris St. An exhibition of paintings of local scenes by Richard Crozier. 5-7pm.
Jefferson School African American Heritage Center 233 Fourth St. NW. “Ankhrasmation Symbolic Language: Earth,” an exhibit of illustrated scores by Pulitzer Prize-winning musician and composer Wadada Leo Smith.
FF Les Yeux du Monde 841 Wolf Trap Rd. “Cantos for the Anthropocene,” featuring Millicent Young’s work interested in altering perceptions and recognition in hopes of invoking change; and “Pelago d’Aria,” featuring work by Kris Iden inspired by recent travels abroad to places of personal significance. 1-5pm.
FF McGuffey Art Center 201 Second St. NW. “To See and Be Seen, To Know and Be Known: Portraits of Resilience,” an exhibition of Kelly Oakes’ portraits of people dealing with hardship and trauma, in the Sarah B. Smith Gallery; “Vinyl Landscapes,” featuring Jeff Thruston’s multicolored silkscreens of Charlottesville landscapes printed on old vinyl album covers, in the Lower Hall North Gallery; an exhibition of new work by Jill Kerttula and Lorie McCown in the Lower Hall South Gallery; “Flora,” paintings of plants and flowers by Marcia Mitchell in the Upper Hall North Gallery; and “The World Art Exhibit,” featuring drawings by 33 refugees of all ages from 15 countries, all of whom live in the Charlottesville area, in the Upper Hall South Gallery. 5:30-7:30pm.
FF Mudhouse Coffee Downtown Mall 213 E. Main St. “Fruitbodies,” a show of sculpture by Lily Erb that uses repeated organic forms to create a language of a new and alien plant colony. 6-8pm.
FF New Dominion Bookshop 404 E. Main St. “Glimpses of the River,” featuring oil on panel paintings and pastel drawings by L. Staiger 5-7:30pm.
Random Row Brewing Co. 608 Preston Ave. “Echoes,” featuring acrylic textures on canvas by Terry M. Coffey.
FF Second Street Gallery 115 Second St. SE. In the main gallery, “Language of the Heart,” a combination of installation, sculpture, video, photography, drawings and collaborative performance by Adejoke Tugbiyele; in the Dove Gallery, “Point of Origin,” featuring an interactive installation by Judith Pratt; and in the back room, an exhibit of work from Aaron Eichorst. 5:30-7:30pm.
Shenandoah Valley Art Center 122 S. Wayne Ave., Waynesboro. A tribute to art education, featuring work from the Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School arts and humanities students in the invitational gallery, and work from the Blue Ridge Virginia Art Education Association in the hall galleries. Opens Feb. 3.
FF Studio IX 969 Second St. SE. “Star Creatures: An Exploration of Astrological Signs in Mixed Media Collages,” featuring work by Sigrid Eilertson that highlights the complexities of the human psyche. 5-7pm.
Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church Unitarian-Universalist 717 Rugby Rd. “Grief Series,” oil paintings made by Downing Miller in the wake of her husband’s illness and death. Opens February 4.
UVA McIntire School of Commerce Connaughton Gallery Rouss Robertson Hall. “Land and Sea,” featuring mixed-media and fabric works by Jill Kerttula and Michelle Geiger.
FF VMDO Architects 200 E. Market St. “Matt Celentano Abstract,” featuring tempera and spray paint works on canvas by Matt Celentano. 5:30-7:30pm.
FF Welcome Gallery 114 Third St. NE. “What Everything is Made Of,” featuring VM Fisk’s paintings and sculpture that simplify the confusion and discovery of daily life into shape, line and color. 5-7:30pm.
FF Yellow Cardinal Gallery 301 E. Market St. “Postcards from Italy,” featuring petite pen and ink watercolors by Jane Goodman; and “The Muse and Others,” petite woodcuts by M. Brunelle. 4-7pm.
FF First Fridays is a monthly art event featuring exhibit openings at many wdowntown art galleries and additional exhibition venues. Several spaces offer receptions.