Marianne Aartsen has studied at the following institutions:

* The Stadsacademie of Visual Arts Maastricht 1973–1978.

* Jan van Eyck Academy Maastricht 1978–1980.

The Jan van Eyckacademy is a Post-Academic Institute for Research Centre for Arts, and Public Sphere. Drawing and painting was Marianne Aartsen’s favourite occupation as a child. Already when young she knew that she wanted to develop this interest further.

At the Jan van Eyck Academy she developed further as an artist by studying the complex technique of lithography (drawing directly on stone), art-theory and philsophy and nature of materials. It was only after having studied here that she began to paint, making use of the comprehensive knowledge of materials and theoretical knowledge that she had acquired.

Characteristic of her working method is that without first making a draft, she paints directly onto panels or linen, always using oils. In layers, but in a direct manner. She often works on a painting for a long while – sometimes years – but there is always transparency and space in her work. Her work has materiality, yet at the same time there is something immaterial about it.

A number of years later she started to do sculpturing alongside her painting. In bronze. The sculptures were directly composed in wax, using a hollow form. This is highly risky, since no clay or plaster model is made in advance. Afterwards, it is cast in bronze, which means you can experience directness and traces of the work process in her sculptures. For many years now she has also occasionally worked with poets. This resulted in 1998 in the book Hazenveld (Hare’s Field, published by Philip Elchers, at her exhibition Hazenveld/Campus Leporarius) where 10 poets each wrote a poem based on a painting she had done. She sees her whole work as a large, continuous whole, with all the facets in it of the individual works. For this reason, she has made editions in which she places the works in a series and links them with each other.

Four books were published with visual art, alongside with poetry by Eva Gerlach. For the first, Solstitium (an initiative of the publisher, Jo Peeters), Aartsen supplied the art to accompany a series of new poems; for the second, Jaagpad, Gerlach wrote poems to accompany Aartsen’s work. In these books, visual art and text are not aiming to illustrate each other; rather, between the hard covers, two kindred spirits walk together for a stretch. Later, Aartsen began to write herself. In 2013 Eva Gerlach has chosen nine paintings from the recent work of the visual artist Marianne Aartsen and has written a penetrating essay about them under the title ‘De richting van het rood / Direction of the red’.  And in 2016 a book with three poets -Roodkapje verduisterd-. see further info by books

For Marianne Aartsen, the world and her work are more than just painting, sculpturing, lithographs, installations, spatial design, films and poetry. Diverse disciplines and double interpretations are typical of her work. The world that lies behind, the interplay with the actual depiction and the imaginary world that is evoked are for her a lasting source for investigation. An inseparable whole , unmistakably distinctive, throughout her entire oeuvre.

Review Limburgs Dagblad 1986 by Pieter Defesche †
Curator of the Stadsgalerij in Heerlen and reviewer for the Limburgs Dagblad
English translation Victor Joseph.