Rob Niezen is a painter, printmaker and illustrator, who is partly self taught, and studied at Vrije Akademies in The Hague and Delft, Netherlands (drawing and painting), at the Art School of Peterborough (painting), and at the Haliburton School of the Arts (printmaking).
In printmaking he creates narrative works, experimenting primarily with linocuts, including reduction prints. Current work includes his ‘Heads & Tales’ series that combines linoprint, blind emboss, collage (stamps), and text. In 2018 he was one of the selected artists included in Roll-O-Matic, Public Acts of Printmaking, as part of ArtsWeek Peterborough. His oil paintings have been shown seven solo exhibitions—three in 2019. He has participated in over two dozen group shows, and in over thirty juried exhibitions. His studio has been a stop on the Kawartha Autumn Studio Tour, juried by the Art Gallery of Peterborough, since 2010.
In 2015, Peterborough County awarded Rob Niezen a Leadership in Arts & Culture Recognition Award. He was a board member at the Art School of Peterborough for six years—three years as chair—and is still involved as a volunteer in marketing the school— and an elected member of the Ontario Society of Artists. He was born in The Hague, the Netherlands, and lives and works in Douro, Ontario, Canada.
As a young boy it was comics that inspired me to draw, and art has been my passion ever since. In my observations of daily life, I explore the effects of light and reflections on contrast and colour harmony. With an eye for randomness I view the ordinary from extraordinary angles or at extraordinary moments. In my still-life and (urban) landscape oil paintings, I seek the drama, the exaggerated and the surprising in objects and places. My painting style is grounded in classic and impressionistic oil painting practice. To share my observations, I view and interpret; I then isolate and emphasize my subjects. My still-lifes take this approach, creating visual narratives of moments in time, and of lives well lived. The paintings reveal rich colours and the play of light and shadows.
In printmaking I work primarily with linocuts, including reduction prints, blind emboss, collage and text. My painting and printmaking are both influenced by European graphic novels and Dutch graphic tradition. My approach to layout and composition is significantly influenced by my experience in advertising and graphic design in Europe and Canada. Similarly, narrative and visual contrast—in colour and value— are essential elements in my work. Traditionally, relief prints were used for illustrations; likewise I create my linocuts as narrative pieces.
Awards and Grants
Exhibition Assistance Grant, Ontario Arts Council, 2020
Annual Juried Show, Art Gallery of Bancroft, honorary mention in the Still Life category, 2019
Leadership in Arts & Culture Recognition Award from Peterbrough County, 2015
Exhibition Assistance Grant, Ontario Arts Council, 2013
Annual Juried Show, The Lindsay Gallery jurors award, 2012
Colour and Form Society Biennial Open Juried Exhibition, third prize, 2012
Seventh Annual Juried Art Show, Quest Art School + Gallery, Midland, Ontario, second prize, 2011
Buckhorn Wild Festival Amateur Art Competition, Buckhorn, Ontario, 1st prize Open Section, 2004
‘Channel’, Book of linoprints from Roll-O-Matic – Public Acts of Printmaking, ArtsWeek Peterborough (2018)
Impressionable Impressions, Chromatic Contrapposto art blog, 2013
‘Rob Niezen reveals the overlooked dream world of our cities at Gallery in the Attic’ by Michael Fazackerly in KwarthaNow, 2013
AGP Inaugural Triennial exhibition catalogue, 2012
Centennial Anniversary Calendar, Siemens Canada, Burlington, Ontario, 2012
100: A Century of Siemens in Canada, Siemens Canada, Burlington, Ontario, 2012
My Favourite Place Calendar, Art School of Peterborough, Ontario, 2011, 2010 and 2009
Rob’s Tree of Life at Peterborough Regional Health Centre
Corporate and Public Collections
Siemens Canada, Burlington, Ontario
SickKids, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario
Peterborough Optometric Centre, Peterborough
Peterborough Regional Health Centre, Peterborough, Ontario
Siemens Milltronics Process Instruments Inc, Peterborough, Ontario
Siemens Canada 100th Anniversary Calendar
Six paintings depicting milestones in the hundred year history of Siemens in Canada, based on a variety of source material, including old and fuzzy black and white photographs from the early nineteen hundreds. I enjoy the additional research about the moment itself, how people dressed in that period, the colours, etc. That kind of digging helps me imagine and interpret the scene, and finally create the composition. Pete Froggatt painted the other six images for the calendar.