Skip to main content

A Bold Look at the Familiar

Paintings delve into the mystery of objects

Italian Dinner
Oil on linen, 30 x 36 inches Courtesy of Gross McCleaf Gallery, Philadelphia. Geiger’s work is also available through Callen McJunkin Gallery, Charleston, W.Va.

For Elizabeth Geiger, familiar does not equal ordinary.

Her still life paintings, with bold brush strokes and rich colors, use the stuff of everyday life—books, tableware, fruits and flowers—because they reflect a sense of personal history.

“Most things have been inherited from family or have been around our house for years,” she says in an interview with American Artist. “This familiarity does not become routine; it adds to the mystery and meaning of the subject.”

A Charlottesville native, Geiger (Col ’90, Grad ’95) has studied at the Vermont Studio School and the New York Studio School, and has exhibited her art around the eastern U.S. She also received a professional fellowship in 2007 from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Her oil-on-linen paintings, such as Italian Dinner, not only convey a powerful depth, with objects receding from light into shadow, but they also reflect her careful attention to composition.

“The still life has become predominant for me because of the freedom it gives me to choose, arrange and edit a setup,” Geiger says. “Or as a friend of mine puts it—I am the writer, producer and director of my own opera.”