In the Flowers is a set of seven paintings, one for each day of the week from Monday to Sunday. They use the same set of graphic elements – flowers, leaves, nipples, vulva and asshole – as in Bathers, to create a unified sequence which has its own internal order.
When asked about his representations of naked women, Dunham explains ‘ I wanted to encourage the idea that the formal representations in my work feel more like life than just abstract shapes. So I started to explore diversity of shape and colour, letting the curvilinear, swollen shapes echo morphologically forms to do with living creatures. I think there was a disconnect in my thinking from the very beginning, which was wanting my art to be a self-contained meditation on painting at the same time as I wanted it to squirm around and get busy. I don’t even see it as a disconnect any more. And why women? It could be just a cliché, but also deep human stuff, which is why it’s a stupid cliché. I kept going around and around that, trying to think my way past it. I had thought I could make trees the central motifs of the paintings. The last thing in the world I wanted on a conscious level was to be making paintings of naked women. It felt like that wasn’t me. But actually it turns out it kind of is.’