Adrian Baiada paints outside, on top of the Illawarra Escarpment or a red gum forest near Otford. It’s not a fixed view – each work pulls landscape qualities into it as a capture established in a bush amphitheatre. In this way he lets the setting get in sync with the picture. Then he brings the canvasses into a confined studio for further work. From there and into the exhibition space, associations, repetitions and reworkings generate over time.
Baiada is wary of habitual moves, adjusting his paintings to sustain vitality and surprise. His oil paint allows a gutsy configuration of colour values, gestures and chunky structures. Varied paint application lets in ambiguities of form and modulated atmospherics. In the current show, the frame is pushed back and pulled in, echoed and contained across multiple surfaces. It is in the gallery that the viewer can be immersed in vivid colour dynamics that alter our perceptions of depth. What lies behind? What floats in front?
Baiada seeks a quality of place that in its rich silences counters the surface trivia of the digital. The painted image is diminished to a trace when contained by the insta-format of a phone. But scrolling through this mirage, we can note the fault lines between the picture and the real thing. The act of painting is a tactile response to an accumulating datascape and Baiada uses it as a way of maintaining directness. For him, the digital social sphere manipulates the self into a fraught and illusory surfaces. Painting offers respite from this, a direct and powerful move that can grasp at consciousness.
Adrian Baiada works from a studio in Thirroul. He has carved out his own path as a painter, dodging art school dogma and seeking out his own reference points from direct experience and personal research.