Jo Baer is an American artist born in Seattle, Washington on August 7, 1929 to her mother, Hortense Kalisher Kleinberg, a commercial artist and her father, Lester Kleingberg, a successful commodities broker in hay and grain. When she was a child she studied art at the Cornish College of the Arts, but since this is not what her mother wanted, Jo went to the University of Washington to major in biology. She stayed there from 1946-1949 and dropped out her junior year to marry. In 1953, Jo married Richard Baer, a television writer and moves to Los Angeles, California. In 1955 they have a son together and three years later they divorce.
Jo’s first work was associated with the development of the minimalist art in the 1960s. During this time she started her series of different-sized squares as well as vertical and horizontal rectangles in the hard-edge style, in which she used a lot of white and grey as central colors, with a small line of color and black enclosing it. Jo spent the spring and summer of 1950 in Kibbutz in Israel exploring the realities of rural socialism. After moving to Los Angeles and marrying, Jo began associating with artists of the Ferus Gallery while exploring abstract expressionism. She then met a painter, John Wesley who she married for ten years.
Jo Baer now lives in Amsterdam. While living in New York, Baer became an active writer where throughout her many essays, “Art & Vision: Mach Bands” was published in 1970. In 1974 and 1975 Baer could no longer deal with being attached with Minimalism so she created two canvases which started her break away from it. June of 1975 Baer moved from New York to Ireland where she began painting animals and humans in translucent colors. In 1984 Baer moved to Amsterdam where she still currently lives. Her artwork has become “more declarative” with richer colors, sharper light and dark contrasts, and more cultural and social criticism.
Cheryl Cook is a strong,...
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