The beauty of nature always mesmerizes me. To capture that beauty requires long and close observation. In that process emerges a personal selection, brought about by artistic feeling. That kind of observation was already the earmark of the realist painters of the Dutch Golden Age. I felt related to them and gave my monography the title Gezien van de Riet.'In 't leven vindtment al'
, which means 'In life one finds all'. That saying of those painters became my motto. One who paints the realistic way is fortunate to discover a world full of greater variation.
The painter may want to move objects or dim colors for harmony's sake and personal feelings, but these changes should never be conspicuous. Ivan Shishkin was a master in natural representation - that's why he is one of my favorite painters. So are the American sublimes like Frederic Church.
Invented representations about human life fascinate me as well. They convey a different kind of beauty, one that is more linked to human experiences and sensations.
Craftmanship is essential, but it is the artistic experience that steers the pencil and the brush, that defines color, light and dark. I paint with oil, often with distemper as an underpainting. I love to draw, with pastel, pencil, or charcoal.
Although I felt attracted to art since youth and wanted to become a painter, I also had a keen social interest and started out on a professional career, as a teacher, education expert and sociologist (Master's Degree in Sociology, University of Amsterdam, subsidiary subject History of Art). This brought me to Bolivia for more than ten years. My work with indigenous people allowed me to combine different skills in the development of illustrated education material. On one of my trips, looking out from a plane window on the harsh but stunning beauty of the Bolivian Andes, I made a vow: I am going to qualify seriously in free pictorial art. I started following evening classes at the La Paz School of Arts, where director Alberto Medina recognized and stimulated my talent. The first exhibitions - and successes - also took place in La Paz. I was frequently featured and interviewed by national press, radio and television.
So I came back from Bolivia to Europe as an artist, but was confronted there with the still prevailing wintry climate of modernism. This was until I came into contact with Diederik Kraaijpoel, former teacher and painter, one of the founders of the Klassieke Academie and important publicist about (post)modernism in art. For several years I got guidance from him.
As an editor I wrote about realism, in monographs and magazines. I gave lectures about realism, concerning discussions in art history around the question if realism is mere copying without imagination. And I started a blog focussing art history issues.
I participate in many exhibitions, of galleries like Kunstzaal van Heijningen, Galerie Lauswolt, of prestigious Art Fairs like KunstRAI Amsterdam, Art Fair Den Bosch, Open Art Fair Utrecht, and last but not least of Museum Møhlmann. This museum organizes yearly the so-called Independent Realists' Exhibition and other themes, and is an important platform for contemporary realism.
My works are included in the collection of this museum and I feature in its numerous books since 2001 Realisten
; also in other books a.o. Hedendaags Realisme (2014, 2015), Kunstzaal van Heijningen (2016), the ARC Catalogue of the 2015-competition, De Klassieke Salon (2016); in newspapers and magazines like Palet (1997, 2003, 2005), Atelier (2008), Fine Art Connoisseur (finalists ARC 2015). Several works were published by Bekking&Blitz in their series of Museumcards
(2014, 2016). In 2014 I was selected by the Dutch Portrait Award, in 2015 I was a finalist in the ARC competition.
"She has absolute sureness in her stroke and brush. Her feeling for proportion allows her to draw the human figure in one go with great mastery."
- Alberto Medina, Director Academia de Bellas Artes, La Paz, Bolivia, 1991
"Gezien van de Riet's work (...) encompasses almost everything that is possible in charcoal and crayon. The three-dimensional forms, the space around them, everything is folded into a composition of a few lines. In passing, she sets down some blots with the broad side of the stylus, just enough to let the sketch stand out from the flat surface. This is true mastery. Needless to say that to be able to draw so easily, a lot of study and craftwoman's training is necessary."
- Leo van Heijningen, art historian and gallerist, Palet 2005
"Gezien van de Riet's work shows an unconditional love for the visible beauty. Even more: she knows how to give it a character of its own. That results in a poetic realism, solidly based on the un-invented, inconceivable, abstract patterns in nature."
- Rob Møhlmann, painter, director of Museum Møhlmann, 2016
Museum Møhlmann, Independent Realists' Exhibition, September 17 - December 18 2016.
Galerie Lauswolt, Winter Exhibition, November 20 - December 31 2016.