Baer’s education in psychology fostered an interest in visual perception and optical illusions. Here, the luminous white squares appear to float above a black field, while the inner bands act as shadows. About these paintings, Baer said, “I understood this blank, white area as light . . . and the edges are boundaries.” The black, red, green, and blue colors seem to be suspended above the white surface.
Gallery label from "Collection: 1940s—1970s", 2019
Throughout the 1960s, Baer made dramatically spare paintings, based on permutations of the same formal elements that characterize Primary Light Group: Red, Green, Blue. Trained in physiological psychology and interested in optical phenomena, Baer has described the perceptual dynamics at play in these compositions: "I paint a black band which does not recede, a color band which does not obtrude, a white square or rectangles which does not move back or forth. . . . There is also a painted white exterior frame band. There is no hierarchy. There is no ambiguity. There is no illusion."
Gallery label from Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction, April 19 - August 13, 2017.
These three paintings belong to a series of twelve that vary in color, luminosity, size, and shape. A product of the 1960s impulse to create art from predetermined systems, the works in this series can be arranged in 479,001,600 combinations, Baer has calculated. These three large square paintings are bordered with intense Mach bands, rendering, according to the artist, "primary colors of light: a red (magenta), a green, and a blue." Baer, who was trained in physiological psychology and is interested in optical phenomena, has said that the paintings in this triptychinstalled, according to her specifications, "one foot or a little less apart" were "constructed equivalent to one another as a color presence."
Gallery label from From the Collection: 1960-69, March 26, 2016 - March 12, 2017.