John Baird finds the quiet humour of the particular in the banality of the commonplace, creating imaginary interiors of objects of nostalgia and conviviality: tea-pots, wine bottles, flowers and arm-chairs, dogs and birds are frequent subjects, becoming players in warm tableaus of interrelationship, where pictorial and symbolic significance is shared equally between humans and their household accessories of life.
Baird gives us a body curved like a jug handle, or packed-in like a puzzle, and furniture that looks like it could walk, as objects and their environment mimic each other in a contained world of the imagination where the stories of people and objects intermingle.
The use of collage and wall-paper elements physically incorporates objects, or beings, as extensions of the interior space; a wall papered bird may be part of a wall, its plumage an interior camouflage, while the wall –paper contributes its own life story of another vanished interior. The painted surfaces are flattened, the colours high key and edged with black, evoking cloisonné, or the wood-block prints of Margaret Preston.
Venturing outside of his cosy interiors, Baird invites us to explore the childhood idyll of the park, and finally, the bracing outside world of racing yachts and open sea horizons. In contrast to the interiors, this is the world of nature and action, a world of escapism perhaps, but not the imaginary. Colours are fresh, clear and relatively naturalistic, in the wide open spaces that are the antithesis of the interior.