Bronze Statues


Sculptor Jo Ramakers

portrays life


Jo Ramakers feels indebted to maintaining life through his figures. Strongly tied to the world in which he lives and by no means an ivory tower dweller, he managed to make his figures subservient to a community of people that wants to see itself confirmed in plastic signs.

Drawing predominantly on an organic world of shapes, intent on making the invisible visible, an oeuvre has arisen which on the whole manifests itself in bright radiance. Figures whose skins have been made glossy and which thus catch much light, light which in turn sets alive the enclosed mass, makes the figure play a game of changeability.

Jo Ramakers is a sculptor who in his work aspires refinement. But looking for beauty - " a thing of beauty is a joy forever" - he nevertheless always reverts to nature, which renders him vital shapes. Shapes that he, in his figures, allows to live lives of their own, in a concentrated quality: figures which can offer solace to the eyes.

Thus Jo Ramakers is time and again inspired by nature and the world which surround him. In a never-ending dialogue with nature he got acquainted with the principles of rhythm and organic growth, movement and counter-movement, harmony and contrast.
In this respect his shining example is the English sculptor Henry Moore, who once said: "Sculptures should be examined inside out as well. One of the things which I like to grasp in my sculptures is a force, a living tension from within, so that one has the feeling that shape is extruded."

Jo Ramakers stems from a family of artisans, artistic craftsmen. Renowned in Geleen was his grandfather's studio: J.W Ramakers & Sons, designers and producers of church furniture in any style: wooden and marble sculptures, painted and sculpted Stations of the Cross, and the like. "Special adaptation for the Overseas Territories", the firm announced in advertisements. The Grand Prix Award, inclusive of Cross of Honour and Gold Medal, at the International Exhibition of Religious Art at 's Hertogenbosch in 1909 was not left unmentioned.

Old Ramakers being tied to strict religious standards, living and working at the time of Roman Catholic heydays, young Ramakers can breathe much more comfortably in his art. He, too, for that matter is to adhere to rules, to demands of craftsmanship, in order to achieve the strictness in shape which he claims to aspire. "I am of the opinion that in present-day art very diverse design is possible, from the figurative to the utterly abstract. A work of art without imagination is a nuisance; having no concept of design it is chaotic."

Thus, in a mood of spiritual reflection, Jo Ramakers can look back upon an oeuvre that, drawing from the arsenal of shapes of modern sculpture and nature's biological-organic vocabulary, can be certain of a place of its own among people, both in private and in public spheres.

In the public domain he prefers working with recognisable shapes stemming from folk sprit, which result in recognition, testify of an attitude of service and evoke response.
In Jo Ramakers' evolution his technical and artist training are clearly marked without the one having obstructed the other.

Movement fascinates him and small wonder he is put on the trail of dance, which started being the source of inspiration for a number of studies of movement; an attempt to visualise the spatial lightness of dancers in the language of plastic shapes. His impression is that dancers are creatures of light, who find their destination in bird flight. For is it not every dancer's wish to be released from earth and to defeat gravity?

This inclination towards light-footedness, based on a desire to create harmony, is also present in Jo Ramakers' more recent works. Take a good look at his plastic activities: the last few years his sculptures have lost weight; they act in a much more light-footed and elegant manner, the spectators at his exhibitions exclaim!

The patina of his sculptures has also benefited from this spirit of internalisation. The blazing green of yesterdays has had to make way for brown, green and ochre.
"During my experiments with various metallic oxides I happened to touch upon this soft patina", the sculptor claims. "All my new sculptures, the ones that are not polished too smoothly at least, are given this soft patina."

Jo Ramakers' sculptures predominantly deal with nature. Within nature he tracks the archetypal forms of life, which in concentrated images he not only visualises but expresses as well. Unhampered by accidental forms of appearance he tries to depict things as pithily as possible, keen on images that start to lead lives of their own, yet always signify the reality in which we live, a reality which, as we know, is in continual movement.

Jo Ramakers is permeated with this realisation.

Willem K. Coumans

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