Deep in the heart of the mountain, life awakens anew…
Captivated by the mysteries of marble at a young age, Richard Erdman has spent his career creating a singular family of forms. Entranced by geologic time, motion, and natural environments, Richard’s sculptures are imbued with universal tensions, while unique and wholly their own, independent of their material origins and the hands that created them.
Through collaboration and vigorous aesthetic consideration, Richard Erdman believes that sculpture, architecture, landscape can harmonize for an enriched experience of place on both individual and collective scales.
Richard established himself early as a formidable maker of public art: in 1985, his career took flight with the installation of ‘Passage,’ the largest sculpture ever carved from a single block of travertine. Today, his monumental works of stone and bronze harmonize with landscapes all over the world, from Switzerland to Taipei.
He has worked closely on both public and private projects with a host of internationally celebrated architects, including Richard Meier/Meier Partners, Antonio Citterio, Enzo Enea, and Marc Whipple of Whipple Russell Architects.
Sculptures placed in private, more intimate settings are just as meaningful and experiential as monumental projects; the intention remains the same: for sculpture to serve as a portal to a deeper experience, vision, and lived experience of those in its presence.
Italian marble is tied to some of the world’s oldest architectural works, and Richard delights in imbuing the ancient material with new life in innovative, compelling settings.
Richard Erdman Studios collaborates with collectors, architects, and designers to create original, site-responsive sculpture. The commission process begins with an in-depth conversation about the project and vision of both the client and artist.
With an understanding of the scope of the project in all its aspects, we prepare a proposal including photographs, conceptual text– the relationship between proposed sculpture(s) and site–renderings, and in some cases an original plaster model which the artist uses to create larger sculptures in marble or bronze.
The experience of conceiving a sculpture with its final placement in mind is meaningful, expansive, and simultaneously collaborative and intimate.
If you have a project in mind, please contact studio director Abbey Meaker at [email protected].
As a child, Richard Erdman swam in quarry basins hemmed by vast gray-white faces of marble. The glassy water revealed the patterns of the marble’s ancient making—millennia of prehistoric sea creatures, their shells emptied, sedimented and compressed over millions of years into stone. For Erdman, it was a glimpse through time. “I was a diver in another world.”
Erdman’s quest to create works that carry the possibility of revelation has resulted in some hundreds of works in stone and bronze, a testament to Erdman’s work ethic and focused vision over his forty-year career. While his work resides in impressive collections worldwide, it is the work itself that is the lasting mark of Erdman’s career. “Stone is the material we love to leave,” Erdman says; he labors under the knowledge that a sculptor can make only a limited number of works in his or her lifetime. The arduous nature of the work makes acute demands on the body. The artist, as he works, marks his own passage of life in sculptures that will long outlast all who now see them.
It could be said that mortality is the bound spring inside Erdman’s works; they carry the urgency of each moment lived as if it were the last. Fueled by his threshold experiences of nature, Erdman endeavors to wring the fullness from each lived moment, and from each form. He shows us our own present, magnified and expanded like air caught in his sculptures’ stony sinew.
Erdman’s works allow a view of the present, and of ourselves in it, as we might be seen from the quarry’s wall—small figures alive on the edge of vast space and time. Culling stone from the mountain, drawing its sedimented history into long arcs, Erdman does not just show us the glimpse of past and future he saw as a child—earth’s memory locked in stone—he walks us to the edge of ourselves, and turns on the lights.
Excerpt from “Perpetual Revelation: Richard Erdman’s Forty Years of Sculpture by art historian Amy Rahn.