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Somnii exhibit to open at Engine Room Art Space

Somnii exhibit to open at Engine Room Art Space

When people are young, they have fantastic ideas of imaginary worlds and “don’t really discredit anything,” said Amanda Fairchild.

As they grow older, people separate logic from fantasy and make choices about what is most important, often landing in a place in the mind where fantasy is not highly valued, she said.

Fairchild, a resident artist at Engine Room Art Space in Hagerstown, teamed up with fellow multimedia artist Kayley Kemp to explore these ideas in an exhibit called “Somnii.” The opening reception will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, and the exhibit is slated to run through Thursday, Jan. 31.

“It’s about going back and finding that spark of imagination and fantasy again and perceiving reality with those aspects still within it,” Fairchild said. “It’s accepting a muddled conglomeration of sanity and fantasy.”

Fairchild, 27, of Hagerstown, is a graduate of North Hagerstown High School. She received an associate degree in art from Hagerstown Community College and continued her studies at Shepherd University.

“I wanted to be an artist all my life,” she said. “My trajectory was always toward art.”

She attended summer camps for art as a child and worked with children at similar camps as a middle and high school student. She has worked with clients as far south as Georgia and as far west as Oregon primarily through open calls and group shows, she said, and continues to build her portfolio in hopes of one day having a gallery of her own.

“Somnii,” from the Latin word meaning “sleep,” is a collection of roughly 30 multimedia pieces.

“I coin myself as an illustrator, mainly multimedia — watercolor, ink and gold leaf. I like sparkly things,” she said.

Amanda Fairchild explores fantasy and reality with her work. (Submitted photo)

Fairchild has explored the lines between fantasy and reality as a theme over the years.

“Within the imagination, there is something inherently human. It is pure thought, pure emotion,” she said. “Fantasy is organic. It is there for a reason. But over time, we tend to ignore it and we tend to lose that spark.”

The exhibit is about going back and “combining reality with fantasy” in an effort to increase understanding of self, Fairchild said.

“That’s really the aim of the show is to help the viewer to better accept the illogical, to be better rounded, to become more analytical and to have a stronger sense of self,” she said.

Fairchild met and became friends with Kemp during high school. Kemp, who is on track to graduate with an art degree from Shepherd University in June, was sharing some of her work with Fairchild when the two recognized the compatibility of their art.

“I saw that her work was akin to mine. She was working on a series on hallucination and it went along with my vein of work,” Fairchild said. “She brings a really fresh style. It brings a breath of fresh air to the space.”

Kemp’s pieces are mainly graphite, or all graphite with some colored pencil. The largest works in the exhibit are roughly 3 feet by 2 ½ feet, while the smallest are 5 inches by 4 inches.

Visual representations of memory, dreams, and conscious thought, the pieces in the exhibit will lead observers to consider “plasticity of the mind in regards to perspective and consciousness,” Fairchild said.

“We mold our internal narratives according to what we mentally perceive and what we will allow ourselves to believe,” she said.

Fairchild hopes the exhibit will encourage those who view it to “consider the varied complexity of the self — the moments that make sense,” she said, “and the moments that don’t.”

Top photo: Kayley Kemp (Submitted photo)

If you go ...

WHAT: Somnii exhibit
WHERE: Engine Room Art Space, 36 N. Potomac St., Hagerstown 
WHEN: Opening reception is 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12. Exhibit runs through the first week of March. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays
COST: Free
CONTACT: For more information, go to, find Engine Room Art Space on Facebook, call 301-739-8577, ext. 116, or email

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