Henk Vos (Winschoten, 1947) graduated as a sculptor at the Academy of Fine Arts “Academie Minerva" in Groningen in 1973. For his graduation work he received the “Threshold prize” of the municipality of Groningen. In 1975, he started cooperation with two fellow students and an artists-partnership was set up. Target of the cooperation was acquiring a place in the public art circuit through bundling of powers.
The period of commissions (1975-1988)
The Artists-partnership (1975-1983)
The Artists-partnership made use of a studio in St Annen and moved to a large studio in Zeerijp later on. The artists applied themselves in realising art commissions in the public space. During brainstorm-sessions ideas for works of art and playground-objects were developed for which materials like stone, brick, wood and polyester were used. Especially in the province of Groningen many works of art were realized, striking because of their playful character and the use of colour. Very impressive are the cheerfully coloured large polyester sculptures like the ones that have been realized in the Sintmaheerd-area in Tolbert and near a sports-centre with adjoining crèche in Hoogkerk. The sculptures were formed in polystyrene and subsequently coated with glass fibre enforced polyester and then painted with car-paint. The Artists-partnership came to an end in 1983.
Commissions in the tourist recreational sector (1983-1986)
In order to realize a commission in the municipality of Stadskanaal, Henk Vos started collaboration with a fellow-artist from Onstwedde. Both artists had presented an idea that showed much resemblance. At the client's suggestion they carried out the assignment together. For a tourist cycling-route in Westerwolde (the Stroomdalroute) about 20 information-pillars were realized, with fine illustrations giving information about various aspects of the surrounding landscape.
After this Staatsbosbeheer commissioned the design of an exhibition about the work of SBB in Westerwolde for a planned information centre in Sellingen. The design and the consequent use of screen-print techniques in this exhibition were considered very innovative compared to the untill then customary Staatsbosbeheer information centres.
Individual commissions (1984-1988)
Policy advisory reports
In this period at many municipal councils the wish arose to make better use of the then existing Visual Artists Regulation (BKR). The advisory reports Henk Vos wrote in cooperation with the Visual Arts Centre in Groningen helped the municipal councils in their policy. The main issue here were various proposals varying from education projects in which artist could take part to the realization of works of art in urban or rural areas. Whenever possible connection was sought with planned urban and rural projects to enable the application of the1 % regulation for art.
Autonomous art (1988-present)
After a long period of commission related activities, Henk Vos withdraws gradually from the public art circuit. A period of introspection, searching and experimenting follows. Personal emotion is the guiding motive hereby. He experiments with different materials and "objets-trouvés". Striking are the wal-objects made of scrap. Also in this period the foundation was laid for the technique of works of art in laminated underlayment, a method by which layers of multiplex shapes are stuck together and modelled with an angle grinder.
Impressive are the series of impulsive "mud drawings", which originated in the years 1992-1997. The exhibition of this "emotional diary" in 1997 at Interprojekt in Eelde-Paterswolde under the title "Years of reflection" concluded this period.
following years especially works of art in
underlayment are created. The rounded-off forms and the patterns of the
wood structures that arise by working with the angle grinder always
cause fascinating results. Often the works consist of two parts,
somehow related in an emotional or even loving way, an emotional
relation that through the rounded-off and abstract forms has been
reduced to its essence.
the first years of the new millennium the
material bronze inspires
Henk Vos. He experiments with, among other materials, blocks of
polystyrene, from which a series of four larger sculptures arise with
the theme 'Spirals of Time'. In these sculptures the abstract,
rounded-off form character of his wooden objects can still be
recognized. However, during the same period mainly smaller bronze
sculptures are created in figurative design with the human figure as a
With the life-size sculpture ‘The Branch Man' Henk Vos crowns this episode in a suitable manner. The sculpture in bronze represents a standing male figure with a skin of tree-bark and on the head a crown of branches. It symbolizes the unity of creation and the solidarity of man and nature. The man has become a tree, the tree a man. It is the reconciliation between mind and matter, between transience and eternity.