‘Coming Home Late’ at IMMA, Dublin, presents a selection of recent paintings by American artist Jo Baer (1929, Seattle) inspired by her experience of the Irish landscape. A prominent figure of the Minimalist painting movement in the New York art scene of the 1960s and 70s, Baer explored the formal limitations of the medium, developing a unique visual language of ‘non-objectivity’ in her black-and-white hard-edge paintings. Following a critically acclaimed solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1975, Baer felt she had exhausted the terrain of Minimalist painting and relocated to County Louth, Ireland. Over the next seven years, she gradually rebuilt her visual idiom towards what she termed ‘radical figuration’: a non-narrative fusion of figural elements, texts, images and symbols.
The exhibition title ‘Coming Home Late’ alludes to the temporality Jo Baer utilises in her work. IMMA presents recent paintings by Baer that reflect on her stay in rural Ireland between 1975 and 1982, during which time she found inspiration in the archaeologically rich Irish countryside. Developing her strategy of ‘image constellation,’ the paintings utilise spare, geometric compositions in combination with imagery referencing Neolithic artefacts and myths. Archival material relating to Baer’s exhibitions in Dublin during the 1970s is also included in the exhibition, mapping her engagement with the art scene of the time.