It's about confrontation. Everyone believes he/she is his/her drama. While they don't always have giant sunflowers (most aggressive of flowers) to contend with, there are always stairways, hallways, even very private theatres where the suffocations and the finalities are being played out, the blood red carpet or cruel yellows, the attacker, the delighted victim...
—from an unpublished letter from the artist to the Tate Collection, 1999, quoted in Victoria Carruthers' essay “Dorothea Tanning and Her Gothic Imagination,” Journal of Surrealism and the Americas 5, no. 1 (2011), p. 146.
At night one imagines all sorts of happenings in the shadows of the darkness. A hotel bedroom is both intimate and unfamiliar, almost alienation, and this can conjure a feeling of menace and unknown forces at play. But these unknown forces are a projection of our own imaginations: our own private nightmares.
—from an unpublished interview with Victoria Carruthers, 2005, quoted in her essay “Between Silence and Sound: John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen and the Sculptures of Dorothea Tanning,” Art, History and the Senses: 1830 to the Present, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing, 2010, p. 112.