John Fox's works from 1973-1974 have a deceptively simplified composition that combines the assertive structure of soft geometric painting with gentle shifts of modulated colour in rectangular and organic shapes. Mazy Tale, 1974, reveals how the artist used layers of colour to create tensions between the sensuous hues across the whole area of the canvas. The picture space has greater ambiguity than in his figurative images. Each area of colour slides in front or behind the adjacent tone to create a sense of gently palpitating movement over the entire surface of the painting. While a carefully balanced play of tonal push and pull was an important part of Fox’s figurative work, it is used here entirely in terms of non-representational colour. This rhythmic motion also relates to the essential dynamic of abstract images and what has been defined as "figure-ground" relationships.
In these early abstractions, the large centre shapes could be a reference back to the window or the mirror that Fox often included in his previous figurative work, such as in Portrait of Beverly, 1964. As a result, there is a continuation of the impression of looking through the image and having it come forward at the same time.