American born artist Jo Baer’s show at Gagosian Geneva accomodates the traditional Swiss stereotype of appreciating clean white minimalism. Her exhibition Paintings 1966–1980 present a very succinct survey of white covering the 24 year period. Born in 1929 in Seattle, Baer spent the 60s and part of the 70s in New York as part of the vanguard of the American Minimalist movement that included Agnes Martin, Robert Ryman, Donald Judd, and Carl Andre. In 1975 she left New York and moved to Europe, finally settling in Amsterdam. In 1983 published an article in the magazine Art in America titled “I am no longer an Abstract Artist”, so the works from the Gagosian exhibition definitely fall within her Minimalist period. The gallery press release states,
Jo Baer is considered to be one of the few true exponents of Minimalist painting. By 1960 she had established her mature style, painting monochrome canvases with vestigial abstract markings. Her formal code dictated that the abstract paintings consist of a white or gray monochrome surface framed in black at the edges, with vivid color placed directly next to the frame, thus establishing subtle chromatic friction. In her later figurative works she began to incorporate fluid, organic motifs sourced from prehistoric sculptures and cave paintings. However, even with this radical change in style and content, she continued to set strict parameters to define the fundamental aspects of her painting. For example, figurative works always contained specific elements: a human form, a non-human form, an object, and a symbol of a concept.
Jo Baer Paintings 1966–1980 2012 March 31 – June 30 at Gagosian Geneva