In his recent series, Edgar Allan Poe's Home, (2015-present), Welch explores memory with a collection of watercolors and paintings faithful to the scale of the walls in Poe’s last home in the Bronx. The forms are painted with motifs inspired by 1800’s tapestries present in the house as well as linked to the memories of the artists’ family which, for three generations, owned a shop selling paint and wallpaper. The watercolor studies and subsequent canvas paintings are segments of a discourse on memory and history of individual recollections.
In addition to the watercolors and paintings, Welch has also produced a video work, which mirrors and inverts a frontal view of Poe’s home with a subdued, almost spectral, horizontal line, reminiscent of memories, old and new, embedded in the residence.
1990s: EXPLORATIONS IN FUTURE MEMORY
The Austin Children Series, 1990-91
"In 1990, he (Welch) asked children to draw over old photographs and describe the future of their town (Austin, Texas) as well as to project their personal futures. The next step would be to make the process and the results more accessible to a community that might emulate them, not as art but as a means of knowing themselves."
- Lucy Lippard, the Lure of the Local, Published by the New Press, New York, 1997
1980s: "DRIVE-IN" & "DRIVE-IN: SECOND FEATURE"
"Drive-In: Second Feature appears like a totemic sign of the industrial, mechanical age of the motion picture and the automobile, which is passing as new electronic technologies emerge, altering our way of life and our forms of entertainment and art-making. The future of film and television, as we know them, is open. Roger Welch’s elegant work contemplates film from a double perspective, seeing it as both a theatrical and an installation medium."
- John G. Hanhardt, Whitney Museum of American Art, September 1982
"Drive In: Second Feature, of 1982, appears at first to be the work of a lunatic or an obsessive folk artist. A full-size 1950’s Cadillac constructed in great detail of branches and twigs faces a screen hung on a framework of branches where previews for “B” movies are shown over and over again. The car has an extraordinary presence, but in this case bizarre and animate. It is one of the most beautiful and fully realized objects in contemporary art."
- Donald Goddard, New York Art World, Online Review, 2001
1970s: PERFORMANCE AND VIDEO ART OF MEMORY
“I see memory as a sculpture created when the totality of an experience is partially forgotten as if carved away.”
- Roger Welch, 1973