Craig Welch’s films drive viewers to surrender, forcing us to lose ourselves, plunged into uncertain wonder. Those who’ve seen How Wings Are Attached to the Backs of Angels (1996) and Welcome to Kentucky (2004), have been privy to this experience: a tilting towards a parallel universe, unsure about whether these realms are occupied by the joy of dreams or the agony of nightmares.
Welch’s oil paintings didn’t get the same exposure as did his short films. Most of his works hung in his home where he lived with his partner, Roslyn Schwartz. Upon entering Craig and Roslyn’s, his striking paintings—while inspired by numerous genres such as portraiture, landscapes, vanitas and still life—revealed something entirely unique. Much like his lavish films, where their stark relationship to death is so apparent, his paintings depict ghostly figures that emerge from an unknown time and place, severed from an unfamiliar setting.
Craig Welch used the following words to describe his cinematographic process—words that, in retrospect, also ring true of his paintings: “Although I prefer to let the work speak for itself, I will say that my aim is to capture a sense of stillness played against the imminence of change.” Similar to the photogram process of an animated film, playing back at 24 frames per second, these powerful compositions are based on a fixed aesthetic while appearing to be torn from a movement whose beginning and end are unknown.
Marco de Blois, programmer-curator in film animation, and Doriane Biot, head of exhibitions