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Coming Home Late: Jo Baer In the Land of the Giants

29 Apr 2023 - 17 Jun 2023


This summer Highlanes Gallery (HLG), Drogheda and the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), Dublin, present two ground-breaking, connected exhibitions, which, for the first time, survey renowned Amsterdam-based artist Jo Baer’s late work that stems from her Ireland-initiated painting series In the Land of the Giants (2009–13).


With this celebratory homecoming, the six paintings are shown, as well as two additional 2020 works, supported by an extensive selection of ephemera detailing the artist’s rich, archaeologically driven research alongside audio-visual material and an extensive public programme that includes a visit to a site key to Baer’s research.


American artist Jo Baer (b.1929) arrived in Ireland in 1975 where she became chatelaine of the unheated 37-room Smarmore Castle in County Louth. Until her departure in 1982, she furthered her move away from the abstraction for which she was so well known and towards the complex transhistorical stories that needed telling through realistic painting. Yet whether dealing in line or figure, Baer’s work continued to identify the source of the borders we create so that we might undo them, and to value the peripheries from which we come. A Neolithic Hurlstone on the castle demesne ‘thrown there by giants’ according to locals, became the departure point for her painting series In the Land of the Giants completed several decades later (2009–13) that explores rich intercultural connections.


The series receives a homecoming at Highlanes Gallery (29 April – 17 June 2023) in its first Irish presentation, alongside related work by the artist. A rich collection of never-before-seen audio-visual documents provide insight into Baer’s 60-plus years as a painter, and feature the artist and her peers who helped define what we understand to be contemporary painting in the West.


Further, the public programme delves into Baer’s rigorous scientific research, engaging with archaeologists familiar with the Boyne Valley sites so significant to the Giants paintings and in which Highlanes Gallery resides.


The travelling solo exhibition is guest curated by Janine Armin at Highlanes with curator Aoife Ruane, and later moves to the Irish Museum of Modern Art where it is curated with Christina Kennedy and further contextualized within Irish art practices.



Coming Home Late:

Jo Baer In the Land of the Giants


29 April – 17 June, 2023

Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda


24 August 2023 – 21 January 2024

Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin




  • Date: 29 Apr 2023 - 17 Jun 2023
  • Artist(s):Jo Baer
  • Curator(s):Aoife Ruane