The Paradox of Ria Nieswag
Artist Spontaneous, and Planned


Daniëlle H.A.C. Lokin

    Spontaneity characterizes the work of the Dutch artist Ria Nieswaag (1950).  The main themes in her work are color and light, with a special interest for contrasts between light and dark, simplicity and clarity, direct and intuitive, intense and intimately. She sets up colorful, abstract impressions of nature with brush strokes. They are structures with predominant colors in which other colors shine through. Nieswaag paints spontaneously but with structure. The form and content create harmony.



    Concentration and perseverance are properties which contribute to her works. The style chosen is consistently explored in series. Sometimes it is a matter of abstracted figuration; the detailing is used to evoke emotions. Her palette is rich in color with a meditative character. Her compositions are frequently constructed originating in the center, arranged according to tight horizontal and vertical axes. Sometimes a diagonal offers a solution to capture a violent movement or emotion. Movement and rest debate each other on the canvas. Powerful energy is not possible without space and silence. Harmony and balance result as obvious counterpoint.



    Again and again her paintings evoke recognizable nostalgic images for her. The work gets its form intuitively but there is always an underlying stratification which links the paintings with life. That connection lets itself be rendered afterwards in such titles as New Beginning, Collective Endeavour, Attraction or Linked Invisibly.

    Coincidence is neither in her paintings nor in her personal life; everything comes by plan for Ria Nieswaag. This as well goes for her tutorage under the artist Gillis van Oosten (1916-2005). He told her early on in her career to believe in herself. For her that meant freedom and spontaneity.


Daniëlle H.A.C. Lokin, Director of the Museum Prinsenhof in Delft, The Netherlands, April 2006 

Writer info:

Daniëlle H.A.C. Lokin (1957) worked as managing director of the municipal museums of Delft, Museum Het Prinsenhof, Museum Nusantara and Museum Lambert van Meerten, for many years. She is an experienced art historian, curator and commissioner of exhibitions joining the BMC Group in 2010 as senior advisor. - Supporting clients in issues of strategic development, management of the organization and starting a business. - Making connections and switching to different levels on topics as (strategic) policy development and implementation of sustainable and tangible improvements in the organization. - Performing complex consultancy assignments on strategic and tactical levels for institutions of cultural heritage including museums, archives, arts and cultural venues, art / culture clusters and multi-tenant buildings with leisure and other facilities. - Establish vision and business case documents.



About the Artist, Ria Nieswaag:

Ria Nieswaag (born 1950) lives and works in Delft, The Netherlands.

From 1984-1988 she was trained as Creative Therapist in Zeist. She combined her activities as creative therapist and artist until 1994 when she definitely chose for the career of an artist. This decision resulted in an assignment by Rijkswaterstaat (1998), the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water, on the occasion of its 200th birthday. Queen Beatrix was present at the opening of the exhibition. A book consisting of the paintings Ria made for the Ministry was published: ‘17 schilderijen, Nederland als kunstwerk’ (17 paintings, the Netherlands as a piece of art).

From 1995 onwards Ria has been exhibiting in distinguished galleries in the Netherlands as well as abroad (o.a. Argentina, Brazil, MASC for the organisation ‘Paint a Future’).

In 2006 a small book of Ria’s paintings was published: Ria Nieswaag, Paintings 2005-2006 (a choice); ISBN:13 978-90-810765-1-7

From December 2008 to February 2009 an overview exhibition of Ria’s work was held in Museum ‘Het Prinsenhof’ , the municipal museum of Delft. On this occasion the book ‘Spiegels van de ziel’ (Mirrors of the soul) was published. This book contains an overview of paintings by Ria Nieswaag from 1994-2008; ISBN: 978-90-74063-38-8