Stephanie Somers, artist and printmaker, has reached Chestertown through a circuitous route – born in Wisconsin, raised in New Jersey, earned a BA in Fine Arts from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, and an MFA in printmaking from Kansas State University.
She and fellow artist John Jorgenson currently share space in Gallery 317, oddly enough at 317 Cannon St., next to Hidden Treasures. The gallery was open just in time for the Artworks Studio Tour last year, too late for her name to be listed in the brochure, so technically both she and Jorgenson are “new artists” on the 2011 tour.
Somers has been etching since 2005, using her love of nature and the contrast of black and white photography as the basis of her style. She happily explained the process to this fascinated Spy one day when we dropped into the studio. Etching is an intaglio technique, where the ink remains in the grooves and etched areas and the surface is wiped clean, vs relief,(ie woodcuts), where grooved areas remain white and surface is inked. Not content with etching, a more detailed and linear process, Somers also works in mezzotints, with its emphasis on tonal qualities, and woodcuts, which are more graphic. On display are a number of the tools required for the various techniques, as well as a wide array of her prints available for sale.
Painter John Jorgenson considers himself self- taught, although he did go to computer animation school in San Francisco. Somewhat of a ‘jack of all trades’, he spent six years as a teaching assistant in Boston at a school for special needs children, and at one point held a welding job at an art foundry in Pennsylvania.
While Jorgenson works mostly in acrylics, he will occasionally venture into watercolor, pen and ink, and some sculpture. Currently he is studying impressionism, which is reflected in his present work. When asked to describe his art, he commented that some of it may fall into the Lowbrow category, a populist visual art movement originating in California in the nineteen seventies, stating, “I think of myself as an illustrator rather than a fine artist.”
Examples of their work will also be on display at the Artworks Gallery during the studio tour.
Gallery 317 is open every First Friday
and “by chance or appointment”
and during the Artworks Studio Tour
October 29,30 and November 5,6
317 Cannon St
Chestertown, MD 21620