Treasure Room

Welcome to The Interchurch Center Treasure Room.

Renee Bouchard

Bio and Statement

RENÉE BOUCHARD lives and paints in North Bennington, VT. Over the past two years she has been working in Manhattan domestically and decoratively renovating an apartment on Fifth Avenue.  In January 2019, she started her first semester as an MFA candidate at the Vermont College of Fine Art. She attended the Phoebe Flory Watercolor School and the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1995. Later in 1999 she graduated from the Maine College of Art in painting. In 2016, her exhibit Kaleidoscopic Pathos was held at the Vermont State House’s Governor Gallery. As an artist in residence in 2017, at Southern Vermont College she taught the course Art, Making and Meaning in which college students collaborated with preschool children on large canvases. She and her 3 year old son had a collaborative painting; The Fear of It; What Above Love at Andrew Edlin’s Gallery exhibition Et Tu, Arte Brute?

Her studio practice involves painting from observation and experience in the outdoors of New England often mixing ground pigments with oils using a glass palette. When working in the studio, Renée’s paintings explore invented interior landscapes evocative of mysterious labyrinths or complex caves. Materials used for the works are often gifts, found, or sentimental. She believes it is an ethical responsibility to be resourceful with materials.

“I see Children’s art as the earliest and most abstract search for language. As in Zen painting, one mark is capable of containing many aspects of human presence. Escaping the confines of one reality and entering a new reality is often where I find meaning within the complexity of the mind and the emotions it houses.”

Her current research is on Composition in Art, Dystopian Beauty, Abstract Expressionism, and Impressionism. She is simultaneously and carefully considering mud and monsters. She is delighted to be working with Colin Hunt as VCFA’s artist mentor for the next six months.

Jessica Nissen


Since 1991 Jessica has exhibited paintings, drawings and installations extensively, and has participated, both as an artist and as an organizer/curator, in several large-scale interdisciplinary art events.
She lives in NYC, where she works as a scenic artist for the entertainment industry and has a studio in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Jessica received an MFA in painting from the Tyler School of Art in 1998, a BA from Middlebury College in 1990 and earned undergraduate credits from the Rhode Island School of Design and Tyler. 


I found a transparent spider- and was terrified but kept looking. I thought I could see its little organs working. When I was 11 years old in my one and only camp experience I was struck by lightening after a swim in the lake. Fortunately, the electricity traveled though a pipe I was holding as I was washing sand off my feet.

Everyone’s memories no matter how vivid or murky become compressed and are filtered through understanding and new experience. There is a continuous effort to reconcile what we are and what we are becoming: to find connections and to feel connected. Rare spurts of lucidity may, if we’re lucky, reveal relationships between all that is variant, salty, elegant, chaotic, terrifying, breathtaking, and fragile; moments of collision. These impressions and my endeavor to find these collisions contribute to numerous bodies of work.

My explorations have been divergent in terms of media but consistent in terms of focus. Being creative is an extension of inquiry about the world, a translation of what we perceive and through that a greater and deeper understanding. The more we become aware, the more the questions change, driving us to make these visions tangible.


Nijole Kudirka


My work focuses on a sense of place and time. The atmosphere that creates a particular light is very variable and I try to capture the atmospheric ambiance of a particular moment that will probably never occur again. The images follow a long pictorial tradition of trying to depict an ideal, pristine landscape, a longing for timelessness and a primordial reality. In my work, the traditional photographic image is left behind. The image becomes more a memory of the landscape, rather than its documentation. I aim to blur the boundary between photography and painting, translating the images into lyrical abstractions of color and form. My work is strongly influenced by painting. I particularly like the works of J.M.W. Turner and A.P. Ryder.

Photographic imagery combined with encaustic adds a third dimension of translucency and texture. The lustrous wax surface  transforms the paper into another medium. It no longer is a photograph but is a one of a kind collage.

Artists who incorporate the use of encaustic/wax and paper into their images are working in a style referred to as encaustic/wax collage. In encaustic photo collage the collaged image is a photograph. The encaustic process refers to applying hot beeswax over a photographic image. I use archival ink jet prints printed on thin, handmade, Japanese rice papers. The photograph layers and the papers are then fused with wax. Each item that is added must be absorbent and is fused to the whole by a brief blast of heat from the heat gun or pallet. The final piece must be joined together by the heat to prevent layers from separating and cracking.

Making art with encaustics is an ancient technique that has been used for over 800 years and it preserves remarkably well.


Nijole Kudirka, who is Lithuanian by birth, is an artist who is based in New York City. She worked first in sculpture and painting, then photography. After obtaining her Ph.D. in Psychology at Yale University, she studied in New York City at the Studio School, School of Visual Arts and International Center for Photography (ICP). She has traveled extensively and has photographed diverse sites around the world, including Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. She has exhibited widely in the US and internationally.

Her work has been published in the Chicago Tribune, Ford Times, Icarus, Olympus Vision Age, and numerous Lithuanian journals. Her work is in many public collections, including: McGraw Hill Publishing, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Excelon, Ortho McNeil Pharmaceuticals and The American Embassy in Brazil.

She received the FOTOARTE Brazilia Prize for her series Ceara Dunes. She has published two books with poet Bianca Tarozzi, "Objects of Memory" and "House of Paper" (Querini Stampalia press, Italy).

Artist Featured in Exhibition