My work reclaims the unseen embedded within the very materials with which I work. I start with a thin black line. Having been partially blinded by a brain tumor, my disrupted visual field focuses on what is below eye level. When walking outside, I notice the cracked asphalt at my feet and the subtle shifts of the blacktop as light plays off of it; I see this before anything else. My wall sculptures emerge from this form of shadow play while joining my first loves – drawing and manual labor – into one cohesive aesthetic.
At a very young age, I encountered the realms of drawing and manual labor. Each offered a different take on tactile qualities, making it clear to me that my reality was more visual than verbal. Their physical presence pulsated with different languages, emanating out from the unseen and exerting a powerful desire to uncover more of the intangible qualities of space revealed through my three-dimensional works.
Installation shot of Bring It, 2019 at Collar Works, NY
As I work with wood, its surface reveals the inherent flaws and fractures present within the structure of the material. These variations shape the final composition. The vulnerabilities present in the wood’s structure make the surface more visually appealing, creating enticing secret worlds revealed by the play of light across the surface. As geometric symmetry meets organic imperfection, each piece becomes activated with new energy.
Keep Going, 2019
Poplar and pigment, 16” x 36” x 2”
Poplar and Pigment, 19. 5” x 9.5” x 2”
To stare into the freshly cut end of a wooden beam is to see yourself – the moment you are born is as visible as your flaws, characteristics and cells that make you YOU. To make a print of that mirror is to make a self portrait- but in reverse.
The black spider web voids in the end-grain, both natural and embellished convert to white- what was once there is now no longer there. There is an intimacy to this transformation; the sheer physicality of the material and all of its rings, cracks and pores that make up its mass are revealed- but in the negative. The change is sincere and simple in its sophistication.
If the World Were Perfect It Wouldn’t Be #2, 2020
Relief print on rice paper, 8” x 11”
Relief print on rice paper, 12” x 12”
In 2020 the world went quiet. I reluctantly abided by the mandatory order of sheltering in place. With exceptions. I walked. A lot. With the absence of cars and people, I felt a certain freedom I hadn’t experienced since childhood; every day felt like a Sunday. I would not have noticed the seedlings that fall from the elm trees in Baltimore without the eerie silence of Covid. I discovered the important element at play here was surprise, as I marveled at the familiarity of the seedlings and how the use of them in a drawing felt so natural and unforced. I found their presence to be self-evident and comfortable, as if this was the way things have always been. The dots were there, long before we realized I could connect them.
Shelter Drawing #14, 2021, Elm seedlings and graphite on paper, 10” x 6.5”
Shelter Drawing #13, 2021, Elm seedlings and graphite on paper, 10” x 6.5”
Shelter Drawing #11, 2021, Elm seedlings and graphite on paper, 10” x 6.5”
Mark Eisendrath is an American sculptor working primarily with wood. His abstract wall sculptures are made by transforming crosscut beams into tiles, which are then used to construct compositions that combine organic imperfections with geometric symmetry. The lively surfaces of his works incorporate textures and cracks which are embellished by a variety of carving and finishing techniques. The sheer physicality of the resulting object can be seen as an exercise in formalism rooted in the simple pleasure of construction. Conversely, Eisendrath’s finely crafted structures explore the intersection of man and nature by employing a wide range of processes to evoke the shared space uniting the human spirit with the Earth’s multi-layered history. Eisendrath lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland.