STORY WRITTEN BY TARA LYNN JOHNSON
For Digital First Media
JAM Gallery in Malvern is celebrating an anniversary — it has been two years since the doors opened. It’s also time for the second annual Juried Exhibition, which features works in a variety of mediums by more than 30 local and regional artists.
Susannah Hart Thomer, of Plymouth Township, is featured and was awarded Best in Show by the jurors for her work called “Order Up.” It’s a watercolor featuring a night scene. Melanie Fisher, JAM Gallery owner, said Thomer’s work is light-filled and she was impressed with the quality.
“Watercolor can be an unforgiving medium and she’s done a good job of letting the natural quality of the watercolor add to the excitement of the painting,” Fisher said in a telephone interview.
She’s excited about the Juried Exhibition and the gallery’s second anniversary (Fisher is helped by “the techy of the team” Lynnette Shelley, co-curator who also handles marketing, the website, and social media). The exhibit features works by artists ages 20 to 75, emerging artists as well as seasoned professionals, and those who are academically-trained and those who are self-taught. The mediums are diverse as well. It’s a great way to celebrate what has been an exciting journey for her, she said.
“I’ve met a lot of cool people, the coolest, most talented people,” she said. “That’s been the biggest reward for me.”
Thomer, who agrees that meeting interesting people is one of the best things about being an artist, was inspired to paint “Order Up” after passing a water ice stand one evening. Someone was at the window placing an order and she took a photo. She often photographs a scene and then paints it later, either on its own or by adding parts of other photos she has taken.
The water ice stand photo showed a reflection from a street light and she tried to add that. She painted a form so you know someone’s ordering, but it’s still a bit abstract.
“I tried to do the movement, to literally put the streaks in,” she said. “I was trying to capture the blur.”
Thomer, who went to Moore College of Art and worked as a fashion illustrator for a time, has been painting for more than 40 years, she said in a telephone interview. Her paintings have been shown (and sold) in galleries around the region. This is her first JAM Gallery show, though. She’s happy to be included and to have won Best in Show.
“The gallery is adorable,” she said. “They have beautiful work.”
The night scene works are new for her. Her usual fare is more traditional, more representational works. But she likes to vary from that now and then to keep things fresh.
“Anything that’s a little different pumps up the ideas,” she said.
Thomer doesn’t paint every day, but rather “it depends on what tickles me,” she said. “If I start on something, I might work all day long.”
Mostly, she just likes taking photographs when she sees something interesting and then making paintings from them. She likes to play with art.
“I like experimenting with what I can do with watercolor,” she said. “It’s fun. I have a good time with it.”
IF YOU GO
What: Second Annual Juried Exhibition and Birthday Bash
When: Exhibit runs noon-6 p.m. Tue.-Sat. through Aug. 29; Birthday Bash 5-8 p.m. Aug. 8.
Where: JAM Gallery, 321 East King St., Malvern.
Info.: Call (484) 328-3553 or visit www.jamgallerymalvern.com. To see more of Susannah’s works, visit http://www.susannaharthomer.com/