Mapping the Landscape of the Soul

Mapping the Landscape of the Soul
by ROSEMARY PONNEKANTI, The Suburban Times

Tacoma, Wash. – Audrey Tulimiero Welch is not your average artist to show at Charles Wright Academy’s art gallery. For starters, the New Jersey native has spent the last 15 years living and exhibiting in three countries, folding those places into her densely layered acrylics. Since August 2016, however, she’s called Tacoma home. And she’s also a parent at Charles Wright, offering the school a unique window into both her life and artistic process with her upcoming solo show “Body Tree Map,” opening Nov. 9.

“My artwork is a map of my lived experience every day—a specific conversation, a relationship,” says Welch. “I don’t see any demarcation between my life and my work.”

For Welch, who has paintings in collections around the globe and is now represented by Nancy Toomey Fine Art in San Francisco, it’s been a long and colorful journey moving from East to West Coast—a journey that has played out in her art. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Delaware and a Master of Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Boston, Welch spent the last 15 years in Indonesia, Thailand, and Australia—five years in each place, where she would walk her city or village and get to know the landscape intimately.

In Sumatra, she was struck by the line and motif used in traditional batik (a cloth-printing process). In Bangkok she fell in love with the saturated colors of garments and buildings. And in Perth she was seduced by the colors of the outback—pale brown, eucalyptus green. Throughout all, she carried with her the memory of the twisted lines of East Coast trees and vines, and of her fascination with the gridded patterns of maps.

All of that comes into Welch’s paint layers. In her light-filled studio high up in Tacoma’s vintage Merlino Building, Welch works on a canvas for months. First she lays down a single color layer with a brush. The next layer might be strands of tape, echoing the lines on a segment of map. Many more layers follow—paint poured from a cup or dripped with a mop, daubs of rice paper, Xeroxed images transferred with gel medium (a kind of glue), even plaster. Finally, she’ll pull off the original tape, leaving an archeology of materials and meaning.

“I’m grounded in the heritage of abstract expressionism, of the intuitive gesture,” says Welch, a petite woman with curly red hair, freckles and an intriguing accent that mixes Aussie with clipped New Jersey. “But I want to juxtapose that with something very intentional, the map line. It’s a structure with the freedom to respond to my materials. And my whole body is involved in the gesture, not just my wrist.”

Hence the show’s title, “Body Tree Map.”

 “What I love in Audrey’s art is seeing all the layers, the gestural lines coming through the piece,” says Upper School art teacher Christina Bertucchi. “There’s a real energy in her work.”

Welch will speak about her process at the opening reception, as well as give a workshop to Charles Wright’s painting and drawing class. That’s something that previous gallery artists have done, like Tacoma illustrator Chandler O’Leary last fall, and it’s an opportunity that Bertucchi sees as priceless.

“Kids love that, because they have a connection to the artist,” she says. “For a kid who may not have had the chance to go to a museum, they not only meet the artist and hear them speak, but also they get to know their process and how they do work. That’s gold.”

The show’s opening reception coincides with opening night of the school’s fall play “Salome,” which begins at 7:30 p.m. in the theater.

Welch’s son Raymond, a sophomore, won’t be in the art class she’ll be teaching. But Welch says the school has been a good fit for her family—as has Tacoma itself.

And she’s happy to have this chance to connect with the school and the wider community.

“Being a painter is a solitary occupation,” Welch says. “Talking about my work and connecting people with it is part of the process.”

2017 Tacoma Studio Tour

August 16, 2017
2017 Tacoma Studio Tour


This is part 2 in our series highlighting the artists participating in the Tacoma Studio Tour this October.

What: Tacoma Studio Tour
Where: 42 studio locations around Tacoma
When: October 14 & 15, 11 am – 5 pm

Cost: FREE!

You are invited inside the working studios of 70 local artists to learn about the artistic process, ask questions, and purchase one-of-a-kind creations. Plus, you can even win some fabulous items hand-crafted by a selection of artists on the tour just for getting your Studio Tour Passport stamped at each studio address you visit. All studios will feature demonstrations or will have hands-on activities for visitors. It’s family friendly and free!

Check out for the full list of artists, schedule, your Tacoma Studio Tour Passport, and an interactive map where you can plot your own custom tour course.

Here are this week’s highlights:
Deborah Greenwood, Greenwood Studio
Susan Thompson, Susan’s Kiln
Jennifer English, SPUN Clay Arts Studio & Gallery
Audrey Tulimiero Welch

Audrey Tulimiero Welch is an internationally exhibited painter who resides in Tacoma. She earned her BFA from the University of Delaware and her MFA from the Art Institute of Boston. From 2002-2016 Welch lived and worked in Indonesia, Thailand, and Australia; this has influenced the context of her paintings. Her abstract layered paintings can be read as metamorphic ‘maps’ that contain embedded daily life stories.

Czardas! Mother-daughter duo plays gypsy inspired concert at Tacoma City Ballet. An evening of music, art, and dance

Czardas! Mother-daughter duo plays gypsy inspired concert at Tacoma City Ballet. An evening of music, art, and dance
By TW STAFF-LL, Tacoma Weekly News


Rosemary Ponnekanti doesn’t just write — she also plays double bass and piano, and her daughter is equally talented. Ponnekanti, former arts reporter at The News Tribune, and her daughter Bianca will give a mother-daughter concert of Gypsy-inspired classical music at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 12 in the elegant Tacoma City Ballet ballroom. The pair will play music by Brahms, Bartók, Mendelssohn and French bass legend François Rabbath. The musical performance is in conjunction with two pieces of newly choreographed dance by Tacoma City Ballet dancers.

Beneath the curvy ballroom balcony will be vibrant works by Tacoma artist friends of the Ponnekanti duo: Becky Frehse, Audrey Tulimiero Welch, Jesse Gardner and Audrey Elliott.

“It’s so much fun to play with my own daughter,” says Ponnekanti, a former professional bass player who’s also a writer and church organist. “We think alike — and rehearsing is super-convenient, of course.”

“I feel really lucky to be playing this concert with my mom,” says Bianca Ponnekanti, a junior at Stadium High who’s been playing violin since she was 5 years old. “It’s cool that we can play together.”

Inspired by Monti’s famous violin showcase “Csàrdàs,” the rest of the program is equally fiery and virtuosic for both players. Pieces include Brahms’ Hungarian Dance no. 5, Bartok’s Romanian Dances, the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor, Paganini’s “Moses Variations” and several pieces by living French bassist Francois Rabbath. The pair will also play some Piazzolla tangos arranged for bass and violin.

Admission is by donation to the Tacoma City Ballet’s Jan Collum Memorial Scholarship Fund, which helps pay tuition for dancers in need. Nibbles will be offered, as well as a no-host bar.


Performer bios

Rosemary Ponnekanti gained her bachelors in music at the University of Melbourne, Australia and performance certificate at the Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague, Holland. She spent 10 years performing with the Melbourne Symphony, Adelaide Symphony, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra and early music groups, before moving to the United States for a 15-year career in journalism. She is also a trained pianist and is currently organist at St. Luke’s Episcopal, Tacoma. She loves traveling, yoga and aerial circus.

Bianca Ponnekanti just finished a season as co-concertmaster of the Tacoma Young Artists Orchestra and as principal second violin of the Los Angeles Touring Orchestra, as well as leading a TYSA string quartet. She enjoys traveling, adventuring and hanging out with her dog.


Artist bios

Becky Frehse is a painter and mixed-media artist who likes exploring musical themes in her work. She also teaches.

Audrey Tulimiero Welch is a painter and collage artist who recently relocated to Tacoma from Perth, Australia. She focuses on ideas of line, mapping and place.

Jesse Star Gardner is a photographer, writer and teacher who brings out the story in her portraiture and landscape work.

Audrey Elliott is a junior at Tacoma’s Science and Math Institute who works in pen and ink as well as paint.

“Czàrdàs! A Gypsy-inspired duo recital”, Aug. 12, 7:30 p.m., Tacoma City Ballet ballroom, 508 6th Ave., Tacoma. Admission: By donation.,

Mutual Art

Audrey Tulimiero Welch: Tree Map Body

JUNE 21, 2017-AUGUST 12, 2017

Nancy Toomey Fine Art is pleased to announce an exhibition of works by Audrey Tulimiero Welch entitled Tree Map Body on view from June 21 to August 12, 2017. The gallery is located inside San Francisco’s Minnesota Street Project, 1275 Minnesota Street. The public is invited to the artist reception on Saturday, June 24, from 4pm to 6pm. Join the event page here.

Tree Map Body is an exhibition of twelve abstract works by international Washington-based painter Audrey Tulimiero Welch. In layered map paintings she revisits the urban wooded landscape of her childhood on the East Coast. Time spent walking in this terrain is echoed in tree-like vertical forms contrasted with looping tangled vine-like gestures. Art writer Brian Curtin says, “Welch’s abstract language combines expressive and calligraphic strokes with sharp linear structures, both embedded in and overlaying painterly grounds.”

Contemplating the Desert

Contemplating the Desert
by ROS FAIRLESS, The Messenger

THE LENTEN ‘pilgrimage of preparation’ at Church
of the Resurrection in Swanbourne will be enriched by prayerful engagement with religious art from local and international artists, culminating in a half-day retreat, ‘Contemplating the Desert,’ from 10am to 2pm on Saturday 21 March.

This engagement was foreshadowed on Wednesday
4 February, with the revealing of the newly installed Stations of the Resurrection by local artist, Sarah Davies, and the launch of the 2016 Mandorla Art Award.

Speaking on ‘The Resurrection’ - the spiritual theme
for the 2016 Award - Archbishop Timothy Costelloe emphasised the impulses of Love and Life at the heart
of the resurrection mystery, and the continual nature
of God’s resurrection activity, as demonstrated in the major movements of the Christ narratives: birth, baptism, healing, deliverance, trans guration, cruci xion, burial, resurrection, ascension, and beyond.

While the Stations of the Resurrection invite us to travel the resurrection road, the Via Lucia, or Way of Light, ‘Contemplating the Desert’ offers engagement with additional contemporary paintings by international artist, Audrey Tulimiero Welch. The works will re ect Audrey’s ongoing investigation of the themes of pilgrimage and journey, sourced from the wisdom of the ancient Desert Fathers and Mothers. Installed at the heart of the nave, enriching the journey from font to altar, they represent

a stopping-point for stillness and re ection along the Lenten way. Audrey writes: “Extremely poignant is the

use of painting as a language to invite viewers to re ect on the Lenten challenge of silence and travelling deeper into the centre of the true self, into God”.

All are welcome to ‘Contemplating the Desert’; a time for contemplative engagement with, and response to, religious art and texts. A donation of $10 is suggested to cover costs. Lunch may be taken at Choux café, just a short stroll from the church.

The Moores Building: Intermix


This exhibition showcases the work of seven artists who collectively form INTERMIX – a group set up to collaborate, provide feedback and exhibit together. With works on canvas, paper and installation pieces, this exhibition, curated by Mariana Atkins, reveals the diverse styles of Ella Allen, Angela Carter, Ann Land, Maxine Murray, Louise Paul, Elisabeth Ribul and Audrey Tulimeiro Welch

Abstraction International style: Audrey T. Welch at Toomey Tourell

By Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle

Abstraction, international style: At Toomey Tourell, the paintings of American-born Audrey Welch, who has lived on the far side of the Pacific for many years, exemplify a kind of contemporary international-style abstraction. They remind me of painters as different and distant from one another as New Yorkers Amy Sillman and Charline von Heyl, and San Franciscan John Smiddy.

The sophistication of Welch's work appears to derive equally from studio practice, life experience and observation of other contemporaries' works.

Two generations ago or more, abstract painters often sought forms and techniques that would evoke experience outside the studio as little as possible, regardless of the style in play.

Ellsworth Kelly might derive the shape of a painting or sculpture from the recollection of something observed, perhaps even something he had noted with a sketch or a snapshot. But the fabrication process would erase the trail that led from sighting to finished artwork.

Robert Ryman, nearly a decade younger than Kelly, might find sufficient content and complexity in stuff at hand in the studio or ready-made in exotic industrial materials.

Welch manifestly invests considerable energy in her constructive process. It appears to involve the layering of color and the masking or subsequent cutting of away of layers, suggesting that she foresees only to a degree a painting's final state. "Bangkok, May 19, 2010," like most of the pictures on view, has a map like quality, yet physical detail pulls the eye repeatedly back to the picture surface, making external reference seem superfluous or a mere trace of the artist's subjectivity.

Whatever personal experiences lie embedded in the paintings, they prove themselves by seeming not to need Welch or anyone else to explain them.

Audrey Tulimiero Welch: South Is at the Top: Paintings. Through Dec. 22. Toomey Tourell Fine Art, 49 Geary St., S.F. (415) 989-6444.

This article appeared on page E - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

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