"Ordinarily a title does no more than identify a painting, but the titles of these paintings are crucial to understanding them. The titles guide the viewer to conceptualize the paintings as something other than what is apparent on casual viewing.
The titles, like the paintings themselves, are three different forms of the same thing. Despite their differences, the titles are identical and the paintings, despite their differences, are also identical.
The first parts of the titles are all the same: Three Gray Paintings. The second part of each title tells us that each painting consists of the same three pairs of colors: orange and blue, green and red, and violet and yellow, although the order of the pairs is different in each painting. As each title makes clear, pairs of complementary colors make gray. The viewer understands that this is so in actuality when the two colors are mixed together; and the viewer further understands that in the paintings the mixing is to be imagined. Knowing that pairs of complementary colors make gray and imagining the mixing of each pair, the viewer is able to conceptualize how each of the three pairs of colors in a painting make a gray painting. And so the viewer understands that, as the titles say, all of the paintings are three gray paintings.
The order of the pairs in each painting is different but because the grays the pairs make are identical the three paintings that make each paintings are identical. This means that although the three paintings appear to be different they are, conceptually speaking, identical.
Despite how the paintings appear at first glance, they are systematic. The colors were put on in the order given in the titles to make the three pairs of colors that each make a gray painting.
Each color was put on by flicking the paint from a palette knife on the model of the allover, an array with uniform emphasis. The exact locations and shapes of the paint are a matter of chance. The canvas was turned top for bottom between each color.
Again, the titles are crucial. The second part of each title, giving the order in which the colors are put on, describes an essential part of the process for making each painting. And the first part of each title, Three Gray Paintings, describes the result of that process."