Jo Baer

Korean 1 to 5 (from a set of 15) 1963

“Jo Baer was a key figure among the celebrated protagonists of Minimalist painting in New York in the 1960s and first half of the ’70s…

The most prominent feature of her paintings of that era is her composition of white or grey central areas encircled by a very thin band of colour which in turn is surrounded by a considerably thicker band of black. In these works it was important to not consider the black paint as a frame nor the white as the centre. Both white and black were the frames for the colour – black functioning to enclose it on one side and white on the other, white pushing colour far enough apart to work as it did. Baer used the perceptual principle of Mach Bands: while the eye sees a band of darkness within a black area and of lightness within the light area, the contrast is accentuated. The sharper the border between contrasting areas, the more pronounced are the bands (= the negative of the the second derivative, i.e. the rate of change of the rate of change). Mach Bands are perceptual illusions, but exact and measurable, objective ones…

The artist produced what she called a radical redefinition of painting by arguing that the root of painting was neither flatness, nor colour, nor shape. She placed the emphasis entirely on light.”

Spot the difference? I love works from Baer’s minimalist years.

(Jo Baer)

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Filed under art, everything, fine art, prints

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