“If humans were ever presented within the Romantic landscape, they remained anonymous silhouettes, most often with their backs turned to the viewer, so that she may freely identify with the landscape rather than human subject.
In Shedding of Time Immemorial the trees and the deathly still night encroach on a solitary vulnerable figure. Welch stands idly unveiling her body and removing a colonial dress. In Terra Australia Incognita and Deliverance, the figure appears naked, exposing the black skeletal patterns that mark her flesh. She appears to be in between worlds – between now and then, between here and there, between life and death. Keeping her back turned to the audience, this mysterious figure imbues these images with a striking privacy and enigma. For while it is clear that we, the audience, are invited to look on, our capacities to read the image are contingent on our abilities to engage its details. The triptych is filled with a range of visual cues that compel us to activate a subjective narrative. We are prompted to ascertain a meaning by thinking through the relations between the mysterious naked figure, the skeletal drawing, the dark eerie forest, the gloomy lighting and the colonial dress. The refutation of didactic meaning, and the invitation to subjectively engage the image, is crucial for apprehending Welch’s art. It is also a common strategy of Romantic landscape painting.”
Anachronism, Romanticism and the Australian Landscape Today: Nicole Welch’s Illuminations (2012). Veronica Tello