I have issues with Lee Welch’s work. It’s slippery. An arm, an angled wrist against a plant pot, with a shadow, positioning, posturing, staging, collaging – objects and actions which culminate in the sense of a vague familiarity of voice, whilst simultaneously slipping against rational intelligibility. Welch makes artworks that are hyper-visual. Tipping upon design aesthetics – interior, fashion, theatre – yet firmly situated within the framework of contemporary art, his works form a constant sidestepping of linear or linguistic interpretations. Everything appears as a work in progress. Objects and scenarios are movable and provisional. And teasingly so. As a viewer, you get the feeling that it all makes sense, it’s just that you’re not entirely sure how, or at least, that you’re finding it difficult to articulate.
However, this partial or disrupted knowing is implicit to Welch’s strategy. What appears to be obscure at times induces an over-riding self-consciousness – am I not getting this? Have I unwittingly become a part of the staging, of the scenario? There are suspicions that a choreographed trickery is taking place. In reality, the work plays upon this elusiveness to throw open a level of communication pitched at an oft-concealed ‘beta’ wavelength, with intuitive connections that circle below the surface, periphery and latent. It is demanding of the viewer. Demanding of one to shelve overly textual interpretations, to loosen judgment on Welch’s signature stolen quotations, forget the academic observations and historical references. Ultimately, you dissolve such preconditions, to partake in the visceral quick slick of texture, the pleasure of colour, of dancing shape, form, pattern. It has the effect of triggering a jazz of visuality, an image-adoring seduction, in an effort to provoke alternate reasoning. A clothed stand says GOLD. Now twist that elbow and start the real conversation.
Lee Welch was born in Louisville, KY and lives and works in Dublin, Ireland. Recent solo exhibitions include Two exercises in awareness and observation, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane (2013), If what they say is true, CCA, Derry (2012), At the still point of the turning world, Galway Arts Centre (2009) and Never Odd or Even and other pieces, The LAB, Dublin (2008). Recent group exhibitions include Amikejo, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (MUSAC), curated by Latitudes, León, Spain (2012); Clifford Irving Show, Objectif Exhibitions curated by Raimundas Malasauskas, Antwerp; A Whole New Ball Game, Banff Centre (2010); Non-knowledge, Project Arts Centre, Dublin (2008). He was recently awarded a residency at the Irish Musuem of Modern Art, Dublin.