Henk van Straaten - Sculptor
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Artist's Statement:

In order to shape resistant matter, such as stone or hardwood, you might think that you have to impose your ego to succeed. This impression arises from the common approach to reality in occidental thinking and behavior.

Whereas in oriental thinking, the visible is an illusion, and man is not the center and goal of evolution. The visible is connected with the invisible - the infinite.

You can contact the infinite through meditation. Sculpture is, for me, a form of meditation; a communication between the tangible and the illusory.

I am not trying to make pieces of art, primarily; or to invent a new and original style. In a constant dialogue with clay, wood and stone, I seek the right form.

Evoking, suggesting, without being subjected to appearances, caricatures and stereotypes; making sculpture is connecting your roots and the roots of mankind.

For me, sculpting is also contacting the mineral and vegetable kingdoms; a very elemental process. I think that so-called "primitive" art is very close to these kingdoms. Here, art is mostly an incantation, and an exorcism of the void.

Finding the right form has, for me, the same function. Though many seem serene, these sculptures are silence in action, against the void.

- Henk van Straaten




Review by collector Bruno Burklin, New York -

With soulful irony Henk van Straaten has crafted wood, stone and bronze with such sublime tenderness.

Born in the Netherlands in 1935, he currently works from his studio on a farm in southern France. His working aesthetic, sometimes reminiscent of Henry Moore or Brancusi, is eloquently distinguished from them by his own more figurative yet whimsical re-scaling of the human form. An ironic sense of humor has infused his work with unabashed joy and wonder.

The reclining nudes have a blissful and often proud serenity. Although formed in stone, colors and textures glow warmly, while angles and curves blend in a comfortable harmony. The figures are rendered with monumental massiveness yet many seem gracefully fluent with the lightness of laughter.

Sculpture & Statement Copyright © 2005, Henk van Straaten;
Web site and photos Copyright © 2005, B. Schreck,
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