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'Distillation' was painted partly in Ripolin household enamel paint and partly in artist's oil colour. Ayres applied the paint with rags and brushes; it was also poured from the can and squirted from the tube. Influenced by photographs of Jackson Pollock working on his drip paintings, Ayres worked on this painting while it was flat on the floor. During its execution, she kept the surface fluid with turps so that she could manipulate the paint rapidly and spontaneously. Her principal concerns at this time were pictorial space, materials and colour, and the balancing of different elements 'so that nothing is more important than anything else. One was into the idea of no composition...'

September 2004