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IMMA is excited to present the solo presentation work of painter Jo Baer, presented in association with the Highlanes Gallery and supported by Pace gallery  

In 1975, Jo Baer left New York for County Louth where she became ‘witch of Smarmore Castle’. Until and after her departure in 1982, she abandoned abstraction to tell complex trans-historical stories related to the Neolithic Hurlstone ‘thrown there by giants’ that she came upon while riding her horse Friday. 

The series of six paintings completed decades later (2009–13) was fuelled by her research into Irish Neolithic artefacts and relations in Turkey, Egypt, and Malta, as well as ordnance maps, and the role of women in the shift from female seer and male shaman to priest, among many other topics. Baer seats climate catastrophe in the transition from communal to private property. Through this work in the Neolithic she decentres colonialism’s gendered and racialized knowledge to include wider contemporary understandings of a non-West in the West. 

 ‘In this project driven by the urgency to counterbalance a Eurocentric telling of history, Jo Baer’s painting series In the Land of the Giants (2009–13) is taken as an exemplary case study in tracing a trans-historical route to Ireland – a non-West in the West – from the Middle East, collapsing time spans and recalling ideas around the Indigenous resurgence required to sustain the planet.’  (Janine Armin).

This exhibition is a co-curation between IMMA and Highlanes Drogheda in collaboration with Jo Baer and guest curator and Baer scholar Janine Armin.  Jo Baer’s exhibition will open first in Highlanes where it runs from April 29 – 17 June 2023.

Coming Home Late: Jo Bear’s In the Land of the Giants has been made possible with the generous support of Mondriaan Funds.

About the artist

In the 1960s and 70s, Jo Baer explored non-objectivity in her black and white hard-edge paintings as part of the New York Minimalist movement. She left New York for Europe in 1975, eventually settling in Amsterdam after years spent in Ireland and London. Through the course of her move to Europe, Baer’s work shifted away from pure abstraction, gradually adding figural elements, text, images and symbols.

Baer has been the subject of one-artist exhibitions at institutions worldwide, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1975); Van Abbe Museum, Einhaven, Netherlands (1978, 1986); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1986, 1999, 2013); the Dia Center for the Arts, New York (2002); Secession, Vienna (2008); Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2013); and Camden Arts Centre, London (2015).

Significant recent group exhibitions include Busan Biennale, Busan Museum of Art, Korea (2012); Sao Paolo Biennale, Brazil (2014); Selections from the Permanent Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2014); Drawing Dialogues: Selections from the Sol LeWitt Collection, The Drawing Center, New York (2016); Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art (2016); Calder to Kelly, Die amerikanische Sammlung, Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Switzerland (2017); The Absent Museum, WIELS, Brussels, Belgium (2017); and Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2017).

Her works are part of numerous public collections, such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Gallery, London; and the Museum fur Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main.