'Desire for freedom above a turbulent sea'


A spry female bird gives a poetic touch to the paintings, ceramics, poetry, booklets and designs by painter/writer/ceramist RIANN. It is the visual version of her motto: ”There is life in my infinite freedom.”

The logo also tells about her versatile artistry, and within these decorative designs she shows her joy and desire for freedom and space.

Development of an artist in a nutshell

RIANN alternates painting with writing and designs.
With her poetic realistic work she has found her personal way, her own style, in which all of the above has its own place.
Initially, her paintings were especially abstract landscapes in a graphical style, a type of dream- images that came out of her designs, knowledge of art history, and painting experiments.

 storm bird

Gradually she got more interested in figurative representations, preferably with a naive character.
She was looking for a visual language to combine her graphical style, with a more realistic kind of painting.

On her recent works,  the graphic characteristics have made way for a more poetic visual language.
A development that started with the manufacture of illustrative looking monoprints on which decorative borders, portraits of girls, birds, fish, air, and sea all are combined.

 on my hand

These monoprints crystallize to sources of inspiration for the more poetic paintings.
The sophisticated ornaments reminds the viewer of the art of the jeweler and the goldsmith.
Although in a simplified form, they also reflect something of the interest she has for the visual language of Art Nouveau/Jugendstil.
The ornate edge that each scene frames is a recognizable detail on her paintings.

 more beautiful than ever

Window of Desire

RIANN creates her paintings on a harmonious and safe world. In the painting ‘more beautiful than ever’, one knows that the young girl has dreams and fantasies.
The images are permeated by sweet melancholy and innocence. The cheerful naivete of the performances and rhymes are a longing for childhood. Border decorations reminiscent of booklets with little rhymes and poetry albums which girls often cherish because they close out violence and hardship.

The viewer also experiences this and one can just immerse ones self in these worry- free atmospheres.
Refined performance and manner is contained within ‘The Girl with the Pearl Bracelet’.
The transparency of the veil, the rhythm of the lace pattern and the inward gaze of the girl forms lovely lyricism.

 the girl with the pearl bracelet

That is how RIANN creates with her own symbolism of a naive poetic world.
The paintings have an “against-the-grain” feeling. This has to do with the illusion of spaciousness that is kind of a contradiction of the decorative framework.

In every painting, young girls, pictured with an endless airspace above an endless sea beyond, are safely in their own world. The world is excluded by the ornate edge around the girl, but she can be seen in a window of desire.

 the show-off stick

Broadening of the Poetic Realism

With this painting, RIANN, not only delivers a visual contribution to the Contemporary Poetic Realism, she does more. Both with nimble rhymes within the paintings,  as with contemplative poems,  she broadens this young movement.
Riann first finds an image in her mind, and then writes a lyric to match the image. Together, they become one piece of art. 
The inspiration fort his style first arose when she wrote a lyric to match a painting by Poetic Realist, Hermanus.
The poem and performance obviously strengthen each other's poetic power, so much so that it inspired more art and more poetry.

She prefers to create a  series of paintings. It gives her the ability to form her visual language with content. This shows in the series ‘Little Ones’. Here, her love for decorative forms is so brilliantly nuanced that the result is pure image poetry.


Since 2017, she has also started to the three-dimensional work in clay again. Based on the footage from both Hermanus as herself, she creates images that that connect with the paintings. Around 2020, she found a clear deepening in the combination of painting, image and poetry.


As writer RIANN is a driven Poetic Realist, these sober, recognizable rhythms of syllables and sounds, the choice of words and the tender tone of the rhymes, emphasize the poetry of the painted image language.
The rhymes are written as if spoken. There is no use of titles and uppercase.
Due to the lack of a period at the end of the sentence,  the poem remains open to the thoughts and the poetic power of the viewer.
The booklet ‘bird rhyme and fish talk’ radiates a universal joyousness. The simplicity of the poems makes them recognisable, and make them perfectly in line with the Contemporary Poetic Realism.

 booklet, 'bird rhyme and fish talk 2’

Lyricism, feelings expressed

In addition to rhymes that are inspired on the paintings, RIANN also writes poems with a philosophical character,  usually from the I-shape with a timeless, personal symbolism, that shows human warmth and involvement. In literature, this is called lyricism. 

In contrast to the simple rhymes, in these poems titles and punctuation are meaningful. Nouns, adverbs and prepositions are to be avoided. For the reader, this contemplative poetry  offers food for thought.

For example, the booklet ‘growing up is easy’, the poem ‘Perspective’ is recognizable by every parent in distress.  

 booklet 'growing up is self-evident'

Place in the history of art

RIANN found her place in art history, with her imagination of sea, air and light, she connects to the Dutch marine painters of the seventeenth century.  And the naive atmosphere within the paintings shows the influence of the current naive realist painting.
Art Nouveau/Jugendstil motives are simplified to authentic, poetic details and are meaningful in her work.

On the painting ‘desire for freedom above a turbulent sea’, historical  artistic influences come together in this one individual, symbolically fraught imagery.

 desire for freedom above turbulent sea

In recent years her artistry flourishes as never before. It has everything to do with the ever more strongly lyrical power of her work that runs parallel with the rise of the Contemporary Poetic Realism.

Riann has added much to this style. 


Lida Bonnema, art historian