Jomantas CV (PDF)
Vincas JOMANTAS 1922-2001
Drawings for sculpture
24 Aug – 17 Sep 2005
This selection of drawings is presented with the grace
of Vincas’ widow, Laima, and Bruce Pollard and Ken Scarlett as executors.
Bruce Pollard exhibited Vincas’ work at Pinacotheca, Melbourne.
Ken Scarlett has written of and curated Vincas’ work.
Born in Lithuania, Vincas studied in Vilius, Lithuania and in Munich,
West Germany. He arrived in Perth in 1948 and around 1951 moved to Melbourne.
Vincas taught sculpture at RMIT from 1960, retired as Head of Sculpture
in 1987 and continued his art thereafter.
The exhibited drawings are a reflection of Vincas Jomantas’ assiduous,
studied, inventive and meticulous life with sculpture.
Laima Jomantas, Bruce Pollard and James Gleeson, artist and former critic,
each offer insights on why these drawings captivate.
Laima recently reflected:
Vincas spent a lot of time drawing, mostly at night. When he was thinking
of making a sculpture he would fall silent - sometimes for weeks, and
I wouldn’t ask him (about it). He got the sculpture in his mind
in 3-D and then he would put it down on paper. He wanted the details.
Sometimes after days or weeks after developing ideas in parallel, he would
settle his idea on one thing and develop proper working drawings, then
get out his materials. There was never any waste. Vincas worked very slowly.
Every sculpture was an event.
Bruce Pollard added:
Vincas’ work is enigmatic ….. passionate as well as cool;
that’s an unusual combination of qualities.
James Gleeson reviewed several of Vincas’ sculpture
exhibitions in Sydney. Of work exhibited at the Hungry Horse Gallery,
Sydney, James Gleeson (Sun, Sydney, 9 September 1964) wrote:
Jomantas works for gentler and more sensuously appealing
In 1967 James Gleeson (Sun, Sydney, 18 October,1967) wrote:
Vincas Jomantas at the Rudy Komon Gallery is one of
those sculptors whose talents are spurred to their fullest extent by ideas.
Few sculptors have a more sensitive feeling for the qualities inherent
in different materials; but he is not one who abandons himself to a chosen
material and lets the character of that material dictate the terms under
which he is to work. ------ Under the directive of the idea he persuades
the plastic to simulate stone, metal or plaster. The end is the justification
of the means- and the ends Jomantas strives for are the projection of
complex human emotions into abstract forms.
Later James Gleeson (Sun, Sydney 3 April 1974) observed:
Vincas Jomantas is a sculptor who has resolutely developed his own
style. ---- Only five works are on show but each piece carries the imprint
of concentrated thinking, long gestation and exquisite resolution.
Then of the same exhibition, Gleeson (Sun Herald, 7 April
Time has played an important role in their creation;
time has given them a formal density and a formal lucidity – in
delaying the hand it has given the mind a chance to develop, enrich or
purify the original conception ….His forms are derived both from
the natural world and the machine, the organic and the mechanical; but
unlike Klippel (q.v.), who creates a miraculous fusion of the two at an
entirely abstract level, Jomantas juxtaposes the different elements in
organisations that are heraldic, symbolic or iconic in intent. They are
braced on an armature of specific meanings.
He is, in fact, a ‘public’ sculptor of the highest quality.
He is able to translate ideas, notions and their attendant clouds of feeling
into concrete images with a high degree of communicability. We can read
his forms and understand them. Yet he is anything but a simple signmaker.
What makes him one of the most fascinating of our sculptors is his capacity
for finding unexpected ways of saying what he wants to say, and his ability
to express the ‘public’ part of his art as a deeply personal
Hence his work is both public and private, general and particular, intelligible
yet idiosyncratic – a rare combination.
The sense of these qualities, evident from the drawings at Watson Place
Gallery, is further reinforced by Simon Klose in his essay for the exhibition
of Vincas Jomantas’ work he curated at the McClelland Gallery in
Jomantas’ sculpture could never be described as
light or light-hearted – the depth of conception and commitment
in making would rule against that. But they are resonant and powerful
sculptures which have the ability to penetrate and convince the viewer
of their value.
Vincas Jomantas held solo exhibitions at Rudy Komon Gallery,
Sydney in 1967, 1974 and 1976. Others were at Crossley Gallery, Melbourne
(1976), RMIT Gallery, Melbourne (1982), McClelland Gallery, Langwarrin
(1990 and 2003), Shepparton Art Gallery (1990) and Pinacotheca, Melbourne
(1996). Vincas Jomantas was also represented in 69 group exhibitions.
Lindsay, Robert and Scarlett, Ken: Vincas Jomantas Retrospective 6 July
– 1 September 2003
Catalogue, McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park 2003.
Scarlett, Ken: A Sculptor of Memory, World Sculpture News, Vol.9, No.4,
Scarlett, Ken: Australian Sculptors, Thomas Nelson Australia, 1980.
JOMANTAS 2004 Exhibition