Central to Ellen J. de Groot’s oeuvre is man, the human being, and the immediate association with a state of mind or circumstance. She describes her work as ‘stylised figurative’, whereby she is interested in investigating the strength of the whole rather than providing a detailed exposé of reality.
Ellen is influenced by archaic art and sculptors such as Moore, Arp, Giacometti and Brancusi and employs a choice of materials depending on the subject: clay, wax, plaster, wood, stone and metal.
Dance-like, fragile, animated subjects are moulded in wax and cast in bronze. The more compact forms may be modelled in clay and are sometimes painted with engobe before going into the oven. She also likes to fashion large-but-not-too-heavy figures in wood – sawn, hacked, carved sanded and painted – often standing on their own shadows, which are made of metal or wood.
Ellen uses soft types of stone to make moulds for images in bronze; harder stone for carved sculptures.
Craftsmanship, knowledge and experience form the pillars of Ellen’s work. Much of it has found its way into private collections, but De Groots can be admired in public spaces throughout the country and abroad. Notable examples locally include Jeruzalemvaarders (Jerusalem Pilgrims, pictured top) in front of the Reformed Church in Schoorl and her 1974 work Samen (Together, pictured with Ellen below), which stands in the Saenegeest neighbourhood of Bergen. Ellen exhibits regularly, too. In May 2019 there’ll be a show in De Kapberg in Egmond aan de Hoef.
You can see more of her work on her (Dutch) website under the heading ‘Vrij werk’.
Photography: Ellen de Groot
Text and translation: Robin Glendenning