Letters to Mother
   A month of Birthday Wishes

Text & Photographs by Meg Madison
The Bindery
Los Angeles 2010
No. 5 of 20

Book Description:
Teddybears Cookbook “ Letters to mother”  is a handmade limited edition of 20 that alters the original children’s book by inserting the artists birthday cards to her mother.  The original hardcover is, Teddybears Cookbook by Susanna Gretz, & Alison Sage, Doubleday & Company, New York, New York, U.S.A., 1978. The original cover, binding and flypaper are retained with the substitution of 34 pages of artist inserts. Los Angeles, 2010

© 2012 meg madison all rights reserved


Letters to mother” explores cultural ritual and myth in the form of the traditional birthday card.   This series includes 31 birthday cards, one for each day of the supposed birthday “month” celebrated by the mother depicted in this series. 
This abundance of birthday greetings helps the viewer observe the underlying dysfunction of family relations. Cultural ritual dictates that birthday cards call for best wishers and express fondness for the recipient. In these pictures the artist’s letters the body of text, in neat catholic school handwriting, illustrating the never-ending quest for parental approval. With a nonchalant tone the cards make statements in direct contradiction to the cultural norm of both the exaltation the mother, and the celebration of the birthday.  The text reveals unresolved family drama in emotions bubbles of family secrets.

The work is presented in 17” x 22” archival inkjet print each representing one date in the month of March. There are also 38” x 44” archival inkjet prints of grids of grids of four cards of four photographs of individual cards presented together. There is also a handmade limited edition book of the cards, a children’s book has been deconstructed and the pages of the cards have been substituted. The children’s book in the viewer’s hands is not what it seems, the cards are not what they seem, and the photographs pose countless questions for the viewer.