David Saunders was a founder member in 1969, with Jeffrey Steele
and Malcolm Hughes, of the Systems Group. The artists in the
Systems Group shared an interest in logical and mathematical
processes, a sharing of information, the unity of ethics and
aesthetics and logic and the rejection of individualistic expressionism.
In 1972 an important exhibition entitled “Systems”
opened at the Whitechapel Gallery in London and toured public
venues in the UK. Saunders was a leading thinker within the
group. His own work is distinguished by a belief that we no
longer see art as isolated discrete objects, but as a field
of overlapping and connected cyclic processes, as forms oscillating
between the determinate and the indeterminate, and between the
abstract and the real. He insists that complex mental activity
can be generated by a collection of signs even if the observer
is totally unaware of the ‘code’ according to which
they have been assembled. The ‘code’ should however,
remain rational and decipherable.
Saunders continues to make compelling paintings in the “Systems”
mode, but his work of the last ten years has moved away from
geometrical abstraction towards an exploration of calligraphy
Series 701-4 [1981-82] Acrylic on
canvas. 101 x 101 cm.