“More and more women everywhere are turning to flower arranging as a form of self-expression which also gives pleasure to others.”(Woman’s Own Book of Flower Arrangements, 1966, p.9)
“On first reading this book’s title, Woman’s Own Book of Flower Arrangements (also printed on the book’s spine), I was at the same time amused and annoyed,” writes Santa Fe-based artist Doreen Wittenbols. “It sounded dated and a bit condescending and somewhat anti-feminist. And yet I learned that the book’s British publisher still puts out Woman’s Own, a UK weekly magazine first published in 1932 that 'placed women’s rights and social problems firmly in the foreground.'”
“My intent is to unfold/refold, create new arrangements in an updated space, altering, transforming and recycling the medium of the book in order to subvert its message. The text element in the series is comprised of each book’s bound pages folded into the shape of a letter that invites the viewer into its inner arrangements. All the letters of the eleven painted-on books combine to spell out a response some women today might feel on receiving a rose from a potential suitor..."
Doreen Wittenbols, Paintings for Our Mothers installation at form & concept (detail), Summer Show 2021.
Doreen Wittenbols, Paintings for Our Mothers X (R), 2021, Water soluble oil on book cover, 11.25 x 8.25 x 6.25 in.
Doreen Wittenbols, Paintings for Our Mothers IV (K), 2021, Water soluble oil on book cover, 11.25 x 8.25 x 6.25 in.