Jo Baer

Seattle, Washington, USA, 1929
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  • Technique: 
    Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 
    183 x 183 cm
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Jo Baer’s work follows the most radical proposals to come out of Minimalism. From 1960 onwards, Baer adopted a reductive style of painting through the use of extremely simplified geometric shapes. Her work later became more systematic through experimentation with large white or grey canvases framed with black, blue and green bands next to the edges, presenting empty flat surfaces modified only at the borders. Untitled exemplifies this type of work, and is the first of the six Double Bar paintings that she did in 1972. The colour line delimits the dichotomy established between the white and the black, and defines the relationship with the pictorial space, the analysis of which is central to her focus. In the following years, Baer rejected the definition of the frame within the canvas in order to work solely on the edges, obliging the viewer to look at the work from multiple angles. Baer’s gesture, applying paint outside the traditional limits of the canvas field, is a break with conventional frontality and an intervention in the surrounding context, bringing a new dimension to the viewer’s encounter with the work. This means that the work of this artist reflects the moment at which mature Minimalism, after the focus on the self-containment of the work at its beginnings, posits new pictorial problems concerning viewer participation, a question that would lead Baer to reject abstraction in the following years.