Is Van Straaten (born in 1963) an artist of balance ever searching for harmony between forces and movements in the space that characterizes him? Because of the wide range in his art education he has mastered all the techniques of drawing, painting and sculpting. However, the traditional plastic art of sculpture and especially modeling opens up the possibility for him to create his own sculptural language in answer to better correspond to his artistic inspiration. His preference for bronze consequently naturally follows.
Sculpture is the sensation of space combined with the challenge of its three dimensions. The tension and movement in space are what he expresses in his sculptures. To sum up, it can be said that energy, the vital element of life and being, feelings and emotion are expressed in the matter. The sensation of space in Van Straaten is expressed in each sculpture’s own form and character. His sculptures of bulls convey explosive power while the horses draw their strength from their elegance. Each sculpture recalls in this way its own associations and serves as a metaphor for a specific emotion. It is feelings that inspire the artist in the creation of each sculpture.
Looking at the works of this artist, it becomes very clear that one of his most important sources of inspiration is art history. The Renaissance period as well as a few major Italian artists have been a fruitful influence, for instance, the intrinsic value of Leonardo da Vinci’s sculptures, as well as Michelangelo through his works’ expressive force. Giovanni Bologna has also been a strong influence through the artist’s dynamic expression and for the intriguing contradictory movements that suggest the laws of weightlessness.
His sculptures awaken the onlooker’s imagination and Van Straaten’s constant quest to present an explosive, powerful language that reveals a movement of solidity. Inspired by the before-mentioned sculptors, he became the sculptor who, by modeling, creates an authentic form with the idea of harmony and this in a material, bronze, whose characteristics strengthen his message. Van Straaten’s work is situated between tradition and originality. Combining two sometimes contradictory sources of inspiration forces the sculptor to find new solutions for each piece that, in the end, give his work a coherent style. Musculature and anatomy coexist with abstract parts, in which each solid and void, line and surface is brought together in the whole. The proud and elegant sculptures play with our emotions, and take their place in space.