Edward Walsh Artists Statement
April 26 2016
Creating a sculpture is a journey into the realms of form, line and material that will accept my artistic will. During creation; the sculpture calls on me to continually find new answers that meld with each successive change, and which I must integrate into a work that possesses its own persona, beauty and significance.
I continually sculpt directly by hand in stone, marble, granite, or with steel, bronze, and aluminum, or even in Styrofoam to create models to be cast in bronze. In bringing my energies to bear on the resistances inherent in each material, each creation takes time, sometimes great lengths of time working very hard materials and later emerges as if spontaneously after months or even years of shaping and refining. Rodin used to say “Patience is also a form of action.” Michelangelo has his unfinished “Slave,” series. My works inevitably come full circle as if the refinement of closure is as essential as the first stroke of the chisel on marble or the first cut-out of steel.
“Reclining Marble One”, in Carrara marble, 2015, and “Lady in the water V,” in granite, 2015 - both are sculptural constructions of individually carved pieces. My career is full of original and untried ways of working with familiar materials. My earliest experience of art was drawing in first grade. Putting pencil to paper became my way of keeping alive some sense of myself. A recent work, Crouching Figure, model for bronze, 2014, is an exploration of a sketch from my teens.
When I studied stone carving in Pietra Santa Italy, I set up a large block in a yard where artisans worked; I only wanted to learn to carve, I had no desire to emulate art anyone else was creating. A workman finally came over and took the chisel out of my hand. “Occhio” he said; pointing to his own eye; you watch. So, over months I watched and learned while using those methods to carve my own work. As Michelangelo said “Faith in oneself is the best and safest course.”
My stainless steel works are manually fabricated from many small cut out shapes which are shaped, welded up together to become a recognizable images brought to a mirror finish. The Hunt, 1997, was a labor-intensive piece, yes; but the forms are moving and full of spirit. Bird Arising, 1995 and Lady in the Water, 1992 are also good examples of a new type of working stainless steel.
My work has been called modern, fine art, abstract, figurative and even pop art. Laughing Nude, 1971 is an example for all of those descriptions and more.
I am predisposed on empathetic and visceral levels to relate my sculptures to forms I find in people, animals and nature.