2017: Looking Back, Looking Forward
As 2017 winds down, Richard Erdman Studios wishes you and yours a very happy new year — from both the snow-covered mountains of Vermont and the legendary quarries of Carrara, Italy.
We entered 2017 still glowing from the publication of the monograph Richard Erdman: Sculpture, a gorgeously printed survey of Richard's brand of stone-sublime in environments as diverse as Switzerland's Enea Tree Museum, the PepsiCo Sculpture Gardens in Purchase, New York, and countless private collections.
Over the course of the past 12 months, Richard has continued to breathe life into new sculpture and surroundings, refining familiar forms, exploring new tensions, and, as ever, honing his modern approach to an ancient material.
“It’s felt like a year of expansion,” says studio director Abbey Meaker, who oversaw a host of national and international commissions from California to Taipei, as well as studio rebrand, and a streamlined website redesign in collaboration with Bluehouse Group. The studio has notably widened its circle of collaborators, working with Alder design studio, photographer Matt Hogan, and hiring Rachel Jones as marketing coordinator.
In the springtime, Richard began work on the latest member of the Volante lineage. Working from a magnificent block of Italian Grey Bardiglio marble, Richard and the team of artisans at SGF Scultura gradually released the sculpture's buoyant, flying form, accentuating the natural white veins shooting through the grey-hued stone. Volante Moon is named for its destined home in Half Moon Bay, California, where it will be installed at the seaside residence of a private collector — once in place, it will appear poised precariously between land and sea, as if about to take flight.
The summer brought another of Richard's works to California: a "massive, unified dance of movements," as Richard has described it, the monumental Serenade was integrated into a Los Angeles residential landscape, where the brilliance of white Carrara marble will beam in the Golden State's perpetual sun. Part of Richard's evolving La Serie Bianca, Serenade's dynamic dance of opposites makes it a cousin in form to earlier works Odyssey and Arete.
Serenade installation, Los Angeles, CA
Fall saw Richard returning to familiar stomping grounds: he gifted Arete Blu, along with Belladonna and Confluence, to his alma mater, the University of Vermont. In October, the university honored Richard with a beautiful dedication ceremony held outside of the new Davis Center. Here, Arete Blu now enlivens its campus surroundings for the contemplation and delight of students and passersby alike. Hewn from Brazilian Blue Granite, or Bahia Azul, Arete Blu has the distinction of being one of just four sculptures Richard has made from this exquisite and rare stone. These three works join Primavera, which the university purchased in 2010.
Arete Blu at the University of Vermont, Burlington
"The values that UVM put on independent thought and exploration allowed people like me to do things that were out of the ordinary," Richard says. "Arete Blu represents that: it’s very active, out-reaching, exciting, and unusual — but it’s also very stable, closed, and confident. It feels complete — I feel so honored giving back."
Winter began with palm trees, amidst the sunny boulevards and breezy art halls of Miami. In collaboration with Montréal’s Landau Contemporary at Galerie Dominion, Richard exhibited four of his latest white Carrara marble works at Art Miami. Fair visitors took in the radiant white contours of Fiamme, Muse Lu, Odyssey, and Sequita alongside several canvases of the Brussels-based painter Yves Zurstrassen.
Richard Erdman with this his work at Art Miami
As our very full year comes to a close, 2018 will start with an exciting step forward: Richard will travel to the Taiwanese capital to oversee the installation of his completed Arete, a monumental public sculpture commissioned by renowned architect Richard Meier for his new CDC "55 Timeless" Xin-Yi Residential Tower. "Arete is architectural in its structure," Richard says, "as it zigzags upward like a building in resilient strength — however, its exhilarating, ballet-like performance on the plaza will keep the sculpture firmly grounded in our everyday world."
With anticipation for the arrival of Richard Erdman's sculpture to Taiwan, a second work has already been requested by CDC for a new development project in Taichung. During his mid-winter trip to the Carrara studio, Richard worked with SGF Scultura's Mario Fruendi and his team of artisans to get this commission underway: Seri Tai will be brought forth from a 30 ton block of white Carrara marble and modeled loosely after Spira, one of Richard's most successful water-placed works to date. Seri Tai will maintain just one delicate point of contact with waters of the Taichung reflecting pool, evoking both wonder and peace in viewers. The water, as Richard puts it, will appear to bear the weight of stone, offering a form of harmony both counterintuitive and ageless.
Richard Erdman with Seri Tai's model and marble block
"The thing that excites me most of all," Richard says,"is that clients and collectors all see the value that I've always known is in stone, since I was a teenager in Dorset, Vermont...I'm so excited that people continue to see stone's value, and to feel it."
And so here we find ourselves on the cusp of 2018, grateful for what's behind and eager for what's ahead — all in all, it’s been a pretty good year.