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A brief summary of the Dice Paintings
 
 
The basic principle behind the Dice Paintings, since the initial experiments in 2001, has been to allow a unique work of art to be produced by implementing random processes as a substitute to direct creative input. A single playing die serves as the symbol for randomness; each painting is given its own particular form by means of an extensive sequence of randomly generated numbers between 1 and 6, when used in connection with its own tailor-made text or "program". The formal content of the paintings remains up to this time non-representational, even as it has gradually evolved in phases over the years. I chose painting as a medium not only for reasons of familiarity but for its primal immediacy as a mark-making medium as well as for its relevance to classical tradition.
 
For each of several properties of the painting, a number of various options are offered in the form of a multiple-choice table. These tables can be seen as posing questions as to the expression of that property. From the given set of options, one option per table is selected at random, which in turn "answers" the question about how the given property of the painting is to be carried out.
 
Two basic examples of a table are demonstrated below:
 
The background layer of the painting will be painted in which of the following colors?
 
6   cobalt blue light
4   violet lake
1   titanium white
3   cadmium yellow light
5   ivory black
2   cadmium orange
 
Will the background color be mixed with a second color?
 
1 3 6   yes
2 4 5   no
 
A sufficiently long random number sequence is prepared, and then processed, one digit at a time: first by numbering all options in all potential tables, then by selecting one option from each table. These selected options thus define all specific painting actions. In this manner, a wide spectrum of painting "rules" is used, which, when summarized and documented, offers a complete instruction guide to the working procedure in the studio.  
(As further examples, complete documentation for the following works is supplied: Dice Paintings August 2008, April 2008-1, February 2007-1, and the photo-installation Mammuthus primigenius).
 
Clearly the painting process is not left completely to chance, it has simply been divided into two distinct phases: the initial creative phase is purely organizational, in which the formal aspects of the painting are vaguely defined in advance. After the random numbers have selected solutions for each question in the painting process, the "active" phase can be carried out: paint is applied to the canvas as directed - regardless of any subsequent creative decisions, however spontaneous and/or appealing they may be.
 
It is important to note that this project is not about absolute randomness; chance is being manipulated into deciding which form the painting will ultimately take. To let a truly random painting be created would entail allowing for selecting against making a painting in the first place. Chance, left to its own capricious accord, would undoubtedly take my work into areas that I am, at least for the time being, unwilling to let it go. Rather, I am interested in exploiting the roughly-defined vocabulary of images that continues to develop in my paintings over the years. Equally appealing is deciding to take a break from deciding, by renouncing control over the act of painting and letting the numbers literally guide the process from first to last brushstroke. The way in which the program is set up, and the inherent randomness within, constitute a vast source of imagery, in effect an evolving annex of potential material beyond my own conscious intention.
 

 
Copyright Ted Green, 2010