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Whispers of Nature

The New Jersey landscape has become an inexhaustible muse for artists, weaving its way into the fabric of artistic expression across various movements and media.

Great Blue Heron with it's catch by Bob Boyd

Since the mid-19th century, nature has played a pivotal role in shaping the artistic landscape of America. The Hudson River School painters, led by artists like Thomas Cole and Albert Bierstadt, embraced the vastness and grandeur of the American wilderness, capturing awe-inspiring landscapes that spoke to a burgeoning sense of national identity. As the country expanded westward, artists like Frederic Edwin Church ventured into uncharted territories, translating the sublime beauty of untamed nature onto canvases that mirrored the nation's manifest destiny. Fast-forward to the 20th century and nature's influence can be seen in the regionalist works of Grant Wood and the abstracted landscapes of Georgia O'Keeffe. From the sublime wilderness to the nuanced interplay of urban and natural environments, American artists have continued to draw inspiration from the ever-evolving relationship with the diverse landscapes that define their nation.

The New Jersey landscape has become an inexhaustible muse for artists, weaving its way into the fabric of artistic expression across various movements and media. New Jersey artists like Bob Boyd and Allison Tyler Soucy play a pivotal role in raising environmental concerns, using their art to raise awareness about the fragile state of our planet. As a photographer living near the beaches and wetlands, Bob has been exposed to the endless cycle of wildlife and landscapes that change each season. “The first time I captured a bird in flight, I strongly desired to improve my skills and capture more of these majestic creatures in motion. My focus is on capturing these creatures' beauty, grace, and incredible ability to survive in the wild.” As a photographer, the quality of light always plays a crucial factor that determines the outcome of a photograph, and Bob takes full advantage of the opportunity that presents itself just before and after sunrise and sunset.

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“I find my initial inspiration in realistic images. My work captures a dynamic and striking moment in nature, which can only be experienced through a still capture.” Although Bob appreciates traditional photography, he is particularly drawn to images created through “Photo Artistry.” This process involves using Photoshop to create a layered and exciting work of art, where the starting point is an excellent photographic image. The photograph freezes the action, inviting the audience to observe the details, colors, beauty, and textures that often go unnoticed by the naked eye. The story is about the changes with each season, the quiet yet powerful response of wildlife, and the landscape that goes unnoticed. The audience is invited to witness the mighty play behind the scenes and before our eyes.

Nature has the power to evoke emotions and memories. For Allison, being human is often tragic and, at the same time, full of enchantment. Over the years, she has had her share of both while striving to live in an atmosphere full of wonder and delight. “That feeling of being startled by nature is what I hope to create in my art. That element of the unexpected, the catch of breath upon seeing something singular and wild, brings me fully present, even if only momentarily.” 

Many artists find a unique balance between realism and interpretation in their nature-themed pieces. Allison’s structures created in nature may be fantastic. Still, she aims to blend them with their environments in ways that could make a passerby wonder if they’re seeing a naturally occurring phenomenon. “That’s the hook for me. I love that moment of pause and ponder.”

Allison admires but has never felt the pull to create realism, so her abilities are primitive, abstract, and whimsical, not realistic. The oddities of the natural world fascinate Allison through anomaly, asymmetry, and wonkiness. She loves finding and working with bones, carapaces, and kooky things to provide a solid connection to the dead. “it’s intentionally precarious and ephemeral because everything is precarious and ephemeral.”

Contemporary nature art reflects a dynamic interplay between artists and the environment. Artists like Bob and Allison employ diverse mediums and innovative techniques to explore humanity's complex relationship with nature in the face of ecological and humanitarian challenges. Their work invites viewers to experience ecosystems firsthand, from traditional representation to an environment fostering a renewed appreciation for the beauty and fragility of the natural world.

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