In 1967, a year before making this print, Bontecou began spending her summers in rural Pennsylvania. This development coincided with a significant change in her work: she ceased making large steel-and-canvas structures and began to construct flowers and fish out of transparent plastic, moving back and forth between sculptures, drawings, and prints of organic life forms. “If you don’t watch out,” she has said, “this is all we’ll have to remember what flowers used to look like.” In this lithograph nails and pins hold the stalk of the flower in place, highlighting its artificiality. Adding to Bontecou’s cautionary admonition, the center of the flower resembles not only abstracted pistils and stamens, but also the mouthpiece of a gas mask—a recurrent motif in her work at the time.
Gallery label from Lee Bontecou: All Freedom in Every Sense, April 21–August 30, 2010 .