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Johanna Goodman, The Catalogue of Imaginary Beings, 2020

By Nadine Bouler

Torn newsprint, jagged lines, scraps of ephemera: The raw materials of collage seem more like a recycling bin than art supplies. Collage synthesizes fragments of found objects to crystalize a moment in time. Artist Max Ernst, a 1930s surrealist known for his bizarre images using Victorian etchings, said of the medium, “Collage is the noble conquest of the irrational, the coupling of two realities, irreconcilable in appearance, upon a plane which apparently does not suit them.” …


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All photos by Paula Hayes Studio

The Art of the Yard: How the Pandemic Turned the Backyard into a Communal Space

By Nadine Bouler

For the first few weeks of the pandemic, many coped with stress by turning to their Netflix accounts to binge. However, as weeks stretched into months, early spring into summer, people realized how restorative it was to get outside. With new social distancing guidelines, many who are fortunate enough to have a backyard are revisiting ways to make it a more convivial place. Decks, gardens, pools — reconfiguring one’s backyard has taken on new urgency.

Artists were no exception.

Planting new ideas


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President Barack Obama by Kehinde Wiley, 2017

By Nadine Bouler

There is a well-worn cliche that a picture paints a thousand words, but can that image inspire the mindset of future generations? Presidential portraiture not only attempts to articulate the tenure of an individual president, but also shapes the legacy of a nation as a whole.

Presidential portraits making history

The significance of American presidential portraiture lies in its function. As a young nation, the United States’ early presidents turned to traditional painting to establish the portrayal of a steady governance. Often set in the context of a library, surrounded by books, globes, and letters, the leaders…


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Cosmos by Portia Munson 12' x 30' installation at Albany International Airport

Nature Can Nurture: How the Photography of Portia Munson Can Heal Your Spirit

By Nadine Bouler

Dragging two children through security in the Albany International Airport, I stopped in my tracks. In front of me, bursting forth in a kaleidoscope of flowers, were four, 12-foot tall panels. No longer in the throes of the industrial age, I was transported into a floral version of Chartes Cathedral. How did artist and photographer Portia Munson’s colorful images create such an immediate sense of calm in such an unlikely circumstance?

Like Emerson’s philosophy of Transcendentalism, close communion with nature offers a restorative effect…

Nadine Bouler

Artist and educator Nadine Bouler has been writing about art, architecture, and nature since 2007.

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