With its three triangles cutting swathes of light in the middle of the canvas, Red-Orange-White (Rogue), executed in 1956, brings attention to its colour, to its pureness, and therefore to itself as an object, not merely a painting. Kelly had previously spent several years in Paris absorbing the interaction between modern art and an old, established culture, but had returned to the United States in 1954, setting himself up in New York. There, the more complex forms of the works that he had created in France gave way to a far more simplified and reduced visual idiom that to some extent prefigured and influenced the works of the later Minimalist artists. Red-Orange-White (Rogue) lacks clutter, and in its sheer simplicity manages to concentrate the viewer's attention on the colour fields. The triangles highlight the intense colour of the dominant field, and vice versa. The surface of the painting has been left as smooth as possible, the edges as seamless as can be, reducing the visible interaction of the painter and ensuring that we view this work not in terms of the personal and emotional product of an artist, as opposed to the works of the Abstract Expressionists still dominating the American avant garde at the time, but in terms of sheer form.
While in France, Kelly had begun to utilise chance in his works in order to create the abstract forms that featured in his work. The evolution of his use of hazard both brought him into contact with and matured under the influence of his friend and mentor, Jean (Hans) Arp. While chance and the arbitrary shapes and measurements that appeared in the world around Kelly continued to prompt him in the creation of his works, the organic appearance of these shapes gave way in many of his American works to a crisper and more formal geometry. In Red-Orange-White (Rogue), we see not curves but triangles, each one appearing like some extreme negative shadow, one paradoxically cast in the wrong direction. This interplay between the creation of his paintings and the world around him extends to the finished product. For Red-Orange-White (Rogue) is not merely a painted surface, but is expressly viewed as a three-dimensional object. It exists almost as a sculpture of pure colours and as such vibrantly glows on the wall, emphasising the fact that it exists in our world, bursting from the wall in its ardour, reacting with and defining its environment.