Jo Baer, Dusk (Bands and End-Points), 2012, oil on canvas, 86 1/2 × 118".

Jo Baer

Camden Arts Centre

Jo Baer, Dusk (Bands and End-Points), 2012, oil on canvas, 86 1/2 × 118".

In 1983, Jo Baer announced she was no longer an abstract painter. Instead, she said, she was committed to working in a mode she dubbed “radical figuration.” However, as “In the Land of the Giants,” the series of paintings she has been making since 2009, demonstrates, you can’t ever really think abstraction without figuration or vice versa. Even as she dedicated the 1960s to patiently exploring and exploiting the parameters of the abstract canvas, her vision from the outset expanded beyond its limits.

By 1962, Baer had stripped back painting to its bare bones. She painted neatly executed ribbons of color around the outer edges of white-painted canvases, layered flush against one another so that the colors appeared to shimmer and move. She would later paint some of the canvases gray rather than white, but the principle remained the same: an emptying-out of visual incident that explored

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