Yohana Lebasi on Mark Earnhart’s Work in Midpoint

Blog Post on Midpoint: by Yohana Lebasi, Stamp Gallery Staff, Class of 2014,

As an employee here at The Stamp Gallery I have the privilege to be up close and personal with a lot of the work we have in our exhibits. Our last Midpoint show featured MFA students here at The University of Maryland and allowed them to display their work in a close enough space for their peers and colleagues to see. I have had the wonderful opportunity to speak with one of the artists, Mark Earnhart, about his inspirations, history and the pieces he has selected to be in the gallery.

Mark is originally from a small town called Lebanon, Ohio. Elements from his life can be seen in his work as he likes to use common objects such as upholstery, nickels and used furniture to give his work a personal feel the viewer can relate to. He takes items that one can find in their own home. Mark likes to think of his work as “a muffled conversation being eavesdropped on” where the listener picks up pieces of the dialogue free to one’s own interpretation. His preference of everyday materials often times reflects a sense of playfulness and reminiscence in his pieces.

One of the exhibits most intriguing pieces is Mark’s is the “Chalked Desk” piece that lies in the dead center of the gallery. It attracts most of our visitors because of its overt commonality while the pool of chalk in the center leaves our visitors questioning whether it is a part of the exhibit or not. This is the idea Mark is going for. The sense of humor in whether or not the desk is a piece involves the viewers and requires engagement from them.

One of the most discrete pieces in the exhibit is Mark’s “Reflects Your Somber Heart.” This piece is personally one of my favorites as it is so inconspicuous yet detailed. It consists of mini figurines attached to a wall column. It sets the scene for one of the smallest funerals you have ever seen. This piece is also one of my favorites because though it is the smallest on display, it speaks the loudest. The narrative received from the little figurines alone is unmatched.

Earnhart’s personality shines through in his work and is put on display for the viewers of his work. His desire to create meaning beyond the work is stellar and as a person who appreciates art AND a good story, I would not have it any other way.

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