Michelle Frick


The sculptures and installations I make are filtered through medicine, healing, and the hospital experience. Placed into a very different context, intravenous line components, drain tubes, vials, and electrodes are reconsidered. An investigation into the functions of the body, particularly the thoracic cavity, is apparent. Choosing to use these materials and to focus on this subject matter was inadvertent and came about when two immediate family members were hospitalized for multiple extended periods. For four years, I witnessed the aftermath of high-risk medical procedures and became familiar with a wide variety of nurses' supplies.

During this time, I began to make birds from the medical supplies which were very present in my mind as I spent entire days in the hospital. The creatures are made of synthetic materials and exist in a synthetic environment, yet they behave normally, perching on hospital equipment, gathering nesting material, and the like. Questions are posed, such as: "What will happen to us when our environment is synthetic and so are we?"

Repetitive processes, like the application into molds of multiple layers of surgical tape, cotton, and paper are integral to my working method. Transformation of materials and the resulting artifice are very important. My work implies a series of contradictions. These include nature and the synthetic world that sustains us, the natural resilience of the human body and the advanced medical technology we have come to rely on, fear and sweetness, and waste and environmental awareness.


Michelle Frick was born in 1968 in New York City. She received a BFA from Pratt Institute and studied at School of Visual Arts. Her work has been exhibited nationally in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and Lexington, KY. She is a 2008 recipient of the Artist in the Marketplace fellowship, and she received a BRIO grant in 2008. Her work has been written about in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Time Out New York. Michelle lives in Bronx, NY and works in Yonkers, NY.

Lupron (2008)

Lupron (detail)

Arterial Nests (2009)

Arterial Nests (detail)