Polly Breckenridge’s monotypes at Chroma Projects
Part of the appeal of printmaking is that it gives an artist the ability to create multiple copies of the same image.
But for local artist Polly Breckenridge, the attraction lies in the printmaking process itself—the way the pressure of the press embosses each design element into the paper, for instance—and how it satisfies her craving for “creating objects of beauty with color and layers and texture.” And so she uses that process to make monotypes (unique, one-off prints), some of which are on view in “You Belong Here Now,” at Chroma Projects gallery through January.
Inspired in part by No One Belongs Here More Than You, a collection of short stories published by filmmaker, writer, and performance artist Miranda July in 2005, Breckenridge’s series of monotypes use shape, line, color, texture, and a set series of human gestures to create compositions that she says “[analyze] how much we have in common, and how we’re different,” that address “our precarious balance as we go through our lives, as to where we belong, and that feeling of belonging.”
Some of the prints are vibrant and bold, with layers of ink covering most of the space; others are more ephemeral. Similar figures repeat throughout the series, representative of gestures that Breckenrdige created and chose “as an expression of a certain universal feeling.”
In one piece, a figure plunges headfirst into a hoop, only its legs still visible, in what Breckenridge calls “a visual representation of diving down a rabbit hole,” of how sometimes it’s easy to dive into another person (or even oneself), but other times, with a different person, that same action is quite difficult.
Another piece shows a figure caught by the big hand in “a falling kind of gesture,” says Breckenridge. “Being caught by something bigger than yourself, which could be the collective consciousness, or another person that’s there to catch you.”
Because each viewer brings their own experience and interpretation to the pieces, Breckenridge constantly learns new things about the meaning contained within her works. Perhaps that’s because, like the monotypes themselves, we humans are all alike, and yet each of us is completely unique.
First Fridays: January 3
Chroma Projects Inside Vault Virginia, Third Street SE. “You Belong Here Now,” featuring monotype prints by Polly Breckenridge. 5-7pm.
Fellini’s 200 W. Market St. “The Creator’s Creation,” a show of photography by Laura Parker. 5:30-7pm.
McGuffey Art Center 201 Second St. NW. In the Sarah B. Smith Gallery, “”, featuring acrylic and mixed media works by Jim Henry; in all other hall galleries, the new members show, featuring photography, metalwork, oil paintings, and more by new McGuffey associate members. 5:30-7:30pm.
New Dominion Bookshop 404 E. Main St., Downtown Mall. “New Zealand Watercolors,” an exhibition of work by Blake Hurt. 5-7pm.
WriterHouse 508 Dale Ave. An exhibition of photography by Charlie Dean. 5-7pm.
Other January shows
Albemarle County Circuit Court 501 E. Jefferson St. An exhibition of work by members of the Central Virginia Watercolor Guild.
The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative 209 Monticello Rd. “Ridged,” an exhibition of work by local LGBTQ+ artists. Opens January 10.
Buck Mountain Episcopal Church 4133 Earlysville Rd., Earlysville. “Coloring Outside the Lines,” featuring fluid acrylic works by Paula Boyland.
C’Ville Arts Cooperative Gallery 118 E. Main St., Downtown Mall. Studio sale, featuring works from member artists.
The Fralin Museum of Art at UVA 155 Rugby Rd. “Otherwise,” exploring the influence of LGBTQ+ artists, and “Time to Get Ready: fotografia social,” both through January 5; “Select Works from the Alan Groh-Buzz Miller Collection”; and “The Inside World: Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Memorial Poles,” and “Figures of Memory,” both opening January 24.
Java Java 421 E. Main St., Downtown Mall. “How do you C’ville?,” an exhibit by Allison Shoemaker highlighting local businesses and investors.
Jefferson School African American Heritage Center 233 Fourth St. NW. “A Place Fit for Women,” featuring paintings by Robert Shetterly. Opening January 18, 6-8pm.
Les Yeux du Monde 841 Wolf Trap Rd. “Dean Dass: Venus and the Moon,” featuring atmospheric landscape paintings as well as stylized works of abstracted shapes and heavily worked surfaces, through January 19, with a reception January 12, 2-4pm; and “Time: Ann Lyne, John McCarthy, Ana Rendich” opening January 25, 4-6pm.
Mudhouse Coffee 213 W. Main St. “CONFLICT/Resolution,” Adam Disbrow’s series reflecting the merger of the “seen” with the “unseen.”
Northside Library 705 Rio Rd. W. “Bold,” featuring acrylic paintings by Novi Beerens and collages by Karen Whitehill.
Over the Moon Bookstore 2025 Library Ave., Crozet. “Natural Light,” a show of oil and acrylic paintings by John Carr Russell.
Radio IQ/WVTF 216 W. Water St. “40 Faces, 40 Years,” a photography exhibit marking the forty years of service of the Virginia Poverty Law Center. Opening January 15, 5-7pm.
Second Street Gallery 115 Second St. SE. In the Main Gallery, “Illuminations & Illusions,” a show of paintings and sculpture spanning more than four decades of Beatrix Ost’s career as a visual artist, through January 10; and “By the Strength of Their Skin,” paintings by Regina Pilawuk Wilson, Mabel Juli, and Nonggirrnga Marawili, three of Australia’s most acclaimed women artists, opening January 24. In the Dové Gallery, “The Slow Death of Rocks,” reverse painting on glass and sculpture by Doug Young, through January 10.
Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital 500 Martha Jefferson Way. “Dreamy Landscapes,” featuring work in oil by Julia Kindred.
Shenandoah Valley Art Center 122 S. Wayne Ave., Waynesboro. “Modern Folk Art,” a juried exhibition; “Iconoclasts,” featuring works on fabric by Annie Layne; and “Small Works,” featuring pieces by SVAC members.
Spring Street Boutique 107 W. Main St., Downtown Mall. “Marker’s Edge,” featuring works in marker on paper by Philip Jay Marlin.
Studio IX 969 Second St. SE. “Retrospective,” a show chronicling more than a decade of the “Every Day is a Holiday” calendars made annually by collaborative artists and lifelong friends Eliza Evans and Virginia Rieley. 5:30-7:30pm.
Welcome Gallery 114 Third St. NE. “Shadow Sites,” an exhibition of installation and photographic work by Steaphan Paton and Robert Fielding, two acclaimed contemporary Australian Indigenous artists. Opening January 24.
Woodberry Forest School 898 Woodberry Forest Rd., Woodberry Forest. “in context.,” featuring paintings in acrylic on canvas and paper by Madeleine Rhondeau-Rhodes. Reception January 9, 6:30-7:30pm.
First Fridays is a monthly art event featuring exhibit openings at many area art galleries and exhibition venues. Several spaces offer receptions. To list an exhibit, email email@example.com.