(b. 1974. Bathurst, NSW, Australia)
Nicole Welch is a Bathurst-based media artist who continually produces stunning images of picturesque landscapes that have a loaded symbol implanted into each painstakingly-composed scene. In 2016 she completed a Masters of Fine Arts at UNSW Art & Design in the mediums of photography and video. As a feature artist at ArtState Bathurst 2018, Welch developed two new bodies of work, Transformation and Mementos. While the Memento series saw the introduction of infrared technology into her practice, Transformation is a continuation of her Self series. First started in 2012, the Self artworks are a documentation of Welch’s performative actions within the landscape. In Transformation, Welch records her journey through a rainforest creek bed towards a waterfall, a universal symbol of renewal and transformation.
Welch has been invited to show numerous exhibitions in a solo capacity; including exhibitions at MAY SPACE/Brenda May Gallery (2017, 2015, 2014, 2013), Glasshouse Port Macquarie (2018), Blue Mountains Cultural Centre (2017), Murray Art Museum Albury (2015), Bathurst Regional Art Gallery (2016, 2012, 2007), the University of Wollongong (2008) and the Canberra School of Art (1998). Her 2017 series, Wildēorness Land, is an ambitious monumental cinematic body of work combining installation, photography and moving image that investigates the Blue Mountains wilderness from a historical, cultural and ecological viewpoint. Welch's 2015 series responded to the eastern interior of Australia, geographically stretching between Bathurst and Albury. The resulting works were shown in both locations, as well as Brenda May Gallery. Welch’s exhibition Apparitions (2014) progressed her conceptual and technical ideas exceptionally, seeing works enter the collections of Artbank, Bathurst Regional Art Gallery and a major corporate collection, as well as being named a finalist in the Kennedy Prize. Welch's works are also in the collections of Murray Art Museum Albury, Parliament House Art Collection Canberra, Macquarie Group, Canberra School of Art (ANU), Harris Farm Market's Collection and the National Library of Australia, among others.
As Welch creates location inspired work, it lends itself to immersive residencies and site-related projects. This has led to her completing residencies at Bilpin international ground for Creative initiatives (2016) and Hill End (2014, 2010), as well as multiple commissions, including a large-scale piece for the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre (2013). Welch has also won the Windmill Trust Scholarship (2011), the Harris Farm Markets Acquisitive Art Award (2010), the Studio One Residency Award (1998), the Megalo Access Residency Award (1998) and the Chamberlains Law Firm Acquisition Award (1998).
Working primarily on site in the landscape, Welch takes mobile cranes with chandeliers, generators, spotlights and state-of-the-art projectors to her chosen location, where she camps out, waiting for the perfect light to capture alluring disruptions illuminated within captivating landscapes. Welch’s work incorporates colonial imagery and iconography into typified Australian terrain, often engaging with themes of colonisation, responding to the specific landscape of her chosen regional locations, and integrating archival research from historical sources.