Preparation of the 160 tiles included white primer for each of the small squares. The quantity is significant and as with all priming there is a neutralising of the support, whilst thinking about the application of colour. The structure of permutation is the repeated square. The repetition will only be in the format as each element, although related, will be independent and moreover, each tile of the element will be unique as its own painting.
Each element would be defined by its prime base colour. This colour would be its key signature, title and identity. These colours would be fully saturated colour with the addition of white to some colours to boost opacity and luminosity, but essentially the colours would be controlling and dominant.
The tiles were painted three times with the base colour. As a potentially floor based work, potency of hue would be fairly essential. The matt colour of acrylic paint would be ideal as there will be minimal reflection of gallery lighting from the surface, when placed horizontal as designed. The full force of the base colour would comprise and seize the surface in a positive way. As each tile will be 50 to 60 cm away from the next, the strong colour would also connect in a diagrammatic way across intervals of the grid like structure of the element.
The base colours include Violet; Cobalt Blue; Cerulean Blue; Cadmium Orange; Cadmium Red; Cadmium Yellow Deep ; Cadmium Yellow; Fluorescent Yellow; Fluorescent Orange; Fluorescent Vermillion (System 3 Daler Rowney and Windsor and Newton Galeria Acrylic Paint). In painting each of the elements with their base colours, they stuck to floor sheet and I decided to keep them as a tile sheet for the duration of the process. Therefore the tiles remain together and can be moved around 180 degrees; each element having its own unity in the making.
So, there is a definite structure here. Each of the ten elements having 16 paintings. Perhaps a system would evolve. I am drawn to reflect on a statement by Thomas Alloway on Systemic Painting: "I took the point of view that a system could be quite human, in a sense that it could involve a very idiosyncratic choice of variables. My rationale had to do with a strong organisational principle I saw developing. I felt a similar sense of order was happening with some of the gestural painters, I think of Pollock now, in the sense of the drip or gesture being repeated and choreographed in an essentially orderly field. Orderly is of course relative, but orderly in a sense of a series of repeated marks. In the 'Systemic' show the artist's mark had condensed in a more geometric way. It wasn't that one was more personal than the other. In retrospect I suppose a distinguishing element would be that in the gesture, painter's color seemed to be the more unorganised element. With the Systemic painters, color was more organised and it was more difficult to distinguish between color and line". (1)
(1) Thomas Alloway conversation quoted in essay. Michael Auping; Fields, Planes, Systems,: Geometric Abstract painting in America Since 1945. p. 73. Abstraction Geometry Painting. Albright Knox Art Gallery Catalogue. Abrams, New York 1989