Much of Delia Baillie’s work is informed by the study of natural forms. In 2003 she won the Alastair Salvesen Travel Scholarship which she used to travel between Las Vegas and Mount Rainier in Washington State to explore the ‘probability of chance’ of seismic activity and naturally occurring land patterns on the West Coast. She produced a body of work which explores the relationship between this natural patterning of the landscape and the artificial patterning of human existence.
This painting is rather collage-like, a medium which makes up a large part of Baillie’s body of work, due to the bold colours and a pattern of meticulously drawn crystalline structures which appear to float across a flat blue background. The oil paint is applied in a thick, flat layer over a wooden board. However, in places the yellow of the crystal structures is stripped away to reveal a thin layer of red through which the grain of the wooden panel is allowed to shine through. This control over the surface, line and colour is juxtaposed with the chance occurrences of the top layer being peeled away to show the precarious relationship between humanity and nature, where the latter always be the more powerful. The immense scale of this work reflects this extraordinary concept to contemplate and as the board has no borders it is as if these shapes will continue to float along.
Baillie often juxtaposes cultural icons with geological structures and seismic patterns to show the relationship between land and humanity and within this piece she has depicted an electric fan amongst the crystalline structures. This fan is floating along with the crystal shapes; however they seem to be overpowering the appliance making it almost disappear into the background. Minerals are formed by a natural process whereas these fans are man-made, showing an exploration of the organic versus the artificial.
Born in 1977, Delia Baillie is a Dundee-based artist who studied drawing and painting at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design where she now teaches part-time. Her practice incorporates painting, drawing, printmaking and photography and she has exhibited extensively across the UK. She has won many prestigious awards and has been an elected member of the Royal Scottish Academy since 2008.