American painter, born in Seattle, Washington. She studied psychology and an interest in perception informs much of her painting. In the 1950s her work was strongly influenced by *Abstract Expressionism, but she is best known for the *Minimalist paintings of the 1960s and 1970s. These were in a sense a riposte to the theories of artists such as *Judd and *Morris that painting was outdated because it was too tied to illusionism.
Refuting Morris in a letter of 1967 she wrote: ‘A painting is an object which has an emphatic frontal surface. On such a surface, I paint a black band which does not recede, a colour band which does not obtrude, a white square or rectangle which does not move back or forth, to or fro, or up or down; there is also a painted white exterior frame band which is edged round the edge to the black.’ Following such works she embarked on the ‘wraparound’ series. These were almost entirely monochrome except for the sides and edges. They demanded, therefore, to be viewed from different angles, the experience unfolding in time, like a sculpture. Following considerable acclaim for these paintings, culminating in a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1975, she moved to Ireland and then to Amsterdam. At the same time she repudiated non-objective art. Her later work has been less seen. It uses superimpositions of mechanical, body, and landscape imagery to denounce the greed and cruelty of the powerful. http://www.diabeacon.org/exhibs/baer/essay.html ‘Jo Baer: The Minimalist Years 1960–75’: essay by Lynne Cooke on the Dia art foundation website.
Text Source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)