Delia Baillie: Solid Ground

The Royal Scottish Academy is pleased to present the long-awaited solo show by Delia Baillie who travelled to the United States in 2003 with £10,000 funding from the Alastair Salvesen Travel Scholarship.


Delia travelled to the United States to study seismic activity and naturally occurring seismic patterning on the West Coast. Travelling between Las Vegas and Mount Rainier, Delia was intrigued by the ‘gloss veneer of city life’ in close proximity to major land-forms and the ever-present danger of nature’s violent volcanic forces.


This exhibition explores the natural patterning of the landscape and the artificial patterning of every-day human existence on this knife edge power struggle between land and humanity (the world’s greatest super-power). A power struggle which, ultimately, hangs in the balance in favour of the force of nature.


Anthropologist Loren Eiseley wrote, “If there is a magic on this planet, it is contained in water.” The lifeblood of any biological system as well as a powerful cutting force, water transforms landscapes and sustains all life on and in them’. Excerpt from Yosemite: The Continuing Story by Leonard McKenzie.


“I found the silence and stillness of the Grand Canyon overwhelming, perhaps as much because of the vociferously bone crunching 13 miles of dirt track I had crossed to arrive there, but also because the tranquillity defied the sheer geological drama of the place. One mile beneath my trainers, the Colorado River appeared as serene as any Scottish burn on a peaceful summer’s day. And yet for up to 30 million years this river has been carving its way through the Kaibab plateau, revealing as it deepens, progressively older strata of time. The river, in the Inner Gorge area, is currently lapping at schist that is around 2 billion years old. Further downstream the Colorado serves as a rather different demarcation line: shaping the border between the states of Arizona and California. These entities were formed in the time of my great great grandparents, which on a geological time scale equates to the blink of a blink of an eyelid. At the foot of California the Colorado feeds the All-American Canal. Nine cities and more than half a million acres of agricultural land in the Imperial Valley rely on this lifeline.”
Delia Baillie


Presented by The Royal Scottish Academy in collaboration with the Alastair Salvesen Art Scholarship.