Visual Arts: Painting

By Christopher Yasiejko

Delainey Barclay wants to speak to you. Not with words, not with exceptionally deep philosophical statements. The Wilmington painter is not out to be The Artist.

“I paint because it’s a way to relate to people,” says Barclay, 34. “And I really try to make my work approachable and relatable and beautiful. I don’t want my work just to be conceptual and pretentious and artsy. I want it to be something that everyone can relate to.”

Pileated, 2010, oil on linen with resin, 88" x 16"
Pileated, 2010, oil on linen with resin, 88″ x 16″

Barclay, who employs a layered, repetitive simplification of images she calls “visual shorthand,” has been working with oil since she was 16 – in a high school art class, she used a palette knife on her first painting. It has remained her go-to tool.

“Humidity,” the group of paintings and installations she submitted for the Division’s fellowship, explores within a body of work the function of space – the perceived space of the canvas, the area between the two-dimensional panel and the three-dimensional sculptural component and the spaces within the three-dimensional elements.

Here, 2010, oil on wood with paper and resin, 36" x 36"
Here, 2010, oil on wood with paper and resin, 36″ x 36″

“Although the physical work itself is important,” she says, “the existing space in and around the piece is of equal importance. Honoring this, shadow, light and moving air can be properly showcased.”

Thus was the appeal of humidity – it is, Barclay notes, something we can both see and feel.

“The thought of air having weight and presence,” she says, “becomes more tangible once water vapor is added.”

“Putting animals there in silhouette form, it’s something that’s very light-hearted and I think it’s something that’s very connectable because they’re all my take on landscape paintings.


Oh Deer, 2009, oil on canvas, 90" x 30"
Oh Deer, 2009, oil on canvas, 90″ x 30″


The Division’s grant will allow her to splurge on supplies, “a true luxury for any artist,” she says. “I find it very helpful to experiment and play in the studio and having gallons of resin and a stack of wood panels will make things fun.” She also has an eye on several oversized round frames.

Meanwhile, she’ll expand on “Humidity.” She’s excited by the chance to curate her own work and to show in the Mezzanine Gallery at the Carvel State Office Building in Wilmington.