October 24, 2008

Patrick W. Welch: An untimely death in Chicago

I recently received a note from Gescheidle Projects that gallery artist and good friend Patrick W. Welch has passed away, leaving behind his wife Carrie Golus, and twin 5-year-old sons, Ben & Alex. Although the circumstances remain unspecified, his death at 43 is unexpected and unspeakably tragic. For many years Welch was a media and animation professor at the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago, and before that, chair of the Sequential Art Department at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Welch worked in many media, including illustration, animation and book arts, but is best known for his "Miniature Hate Paintings" which evoke a strange combination of childhood nightmare and adult neurosis, drawing on references from contemporary fine art, comic books, and science fiction. More recently his "Miniature Insult Blocks," painted on 1" x 2" blocks, detail English playground childhood insults in the saccahrine colours of boiled sweets.

"If someone wanted to send you a postcard from hell, Patrick Welch would be the best living candidate to paint it. But it might make you want to visit. Welch's hell is goofy, cryptic, fairly self-aggrandizing, and inviting." Seth Sanders, The Chicago Reader, 2002

"These spaces are at once abstract, cosmic and microscopic. They become ground to signal huge emotional distances between two people. In Me and You, a network of pipe-like drips becomes vast when the teensy 'Me' appears on the lower left, and 'You' are seen on the upper right. It's like we've lost each other in a sewer system. With a bitter and fatalistic tone, you might think these works are a downer, but as one work proudly proclaims, The End is Nice. Apropos to Gescheidle's final showing. -- Erik Wenzel, artslant, 2008

"Although painter Patrick Welch works small, he thinks big." Jame Austen, Chicago Journal, 2007 "Welch has been on a ride into the infinite regress of his distaste for human existence for years now, and it's a testament to his obduration that he's managed to keep lively each self-reference as the fecal discharge of famous mainstream artists. Michael Workman, Newcity, 2007

"And their many incongruities...underline the central paradox of his work; the split between traditional ideals of beauty and harmony and the discordance around and within us. The witty disparities Welch interjects and his sensual use of color can't efface the awful fixity of his objects and words..." Fred Camper, The Chicago Reader, 2002

"Newcity contributor Patrick Welch is a cranky guy. Well, not him, but his art.....But while Welch is elevating self-diminution to new levels, the works, which often reference comics and science fiction, are fun in spite of their theme." Brian Hieggelke, 2002

"If you're going to be a Marxist these days, it's best to do so with tongue firmly in cheek. And while you're at it, why not go ahead and write an artist manifesto...? Patrick W. Welch and friends group show have done just that, inaugurating "The Micromentalist Manifesto" with this surprisingly enjoyable group show." Lori Waxman, artforum.com, 2008

"He seems defeated by art history and fears of failure and idiocy. Well, not that defeated; he did create a stunning body of work." Erik Wenzel, FNews, 2002

Related posts:
2007 Interview with Patrick W. Welch on Gapers Block is here.
Interview on Chicago Public Radio is here.

2 comments:

Hey I don't know if you use Facebook, but I created a group page entitled Patrick W. Welch, Painter of Hate located here: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=112631788753922&ref=mf

Please join and spread the word.

Cheers!

-Alexander Gruber

What the hell happened to him? This is a total shock.