- I look for pieces of steel primarily in industrial sites I visit, through friends who work in industry, or in scrap yards, as well as new steel from conventional sources. I bring these pieces into my studio and try to react to them. I think about them in the way certain Chinese artists react to roots they discover and pull from the earth; they look into the meaning and potentialities of those pieces. I try to find the potentiality in a piece of steel and then manipulate it into a form that might be generally in the family of forms I’m working with at that time. It may be dancers, horses, reclining nudes, or any other potentiality that’s suggested to me by the steel.
Sculpturally, I’d say my biggest influence was Degas. One of the things I love about Degas is the simplicity of line and sense of balance. Perhaps it's because I’ve done engineering and engineering drawings. I felt that I could take in his sense of balance. Whether it is an arabesque or a horse at trough, the underlying structure was immediately apparent. The sense of motion and balance is totally revealed to the viewer through a single gesture in space.
My sculptures need to move and I feel that the pieces tend not to be portraits and not even snapshots in time, but rather gestures. What is it that I mean by a gesture? I think we mean not only a snapshot in time but also a projection in time. When my pieces are placed into new environments, different times of day, and new seasons, it creates a projection through time. I think that is very powerful and allows me to see what the viewer is seeing. And to that extent, I think it is collaboration.
- Richard Edelman