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Sam Earle is a Boston native who has lived and worked in the South End for thirty years. His work can be found in many private and public collections, including the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park as well as the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Earle’s unique medium has remained consistent for decades; however, his subject matter shifts between specific societal fascinations, such as agriculture, antiquities, and symbology. The work recalls the layering of Jasper Johns with the playful overstimulation of Claes Oldenburg’s pop art.


Earle’s mixed media paintings are composed of tediously layered, hand-painted transfers on hollow-core wood panels or metal sheets. He utilizes monoprinting techniques so that no two images are exactly the same, despite their similar appearances. The complex and meticulous method that produces the highly layered imagery is bound together with painted tacks, which add to the compositional and textural dimensions of the work.


The series shown in this exhibition, Circus, plays with the concept of advertisements for a once revered pastime. Earle’s recent interest in this theme came from a memory of circus posters pinned on top of one another. The excessive advertising for an already stimulating event left a strong impression on the artist. Familiar circus elements are sprinkled through the compositions and brought together by larger images that are outlined with tacks. Earle’s highly saturated, colorful, and condensed imagery reflects the exciting and indulgent nature of old circus posters. Much the like the crowds attracted to the circus, viewers of the work seek to quench a curiosity for the unusual and extraordinary.


Adam Adelson
Adelson Galleries Boston