Nicole Michaud

hroughout history, both women and fruit have been popular and enduring subjects for paintings. Women are referred to as the earth in which man plants a formed seed, distancing women from their capacity as creator. Rather, women engaging in procreation utilize the male 'pollen' to create and grow the embryonic seed of future generations.

From the Nariphon of Buddhist mythology (literal fruits shaped as women's bodies and absent bones) growing from the Makkaliphon tree, to the pomegranate of Greek mythology and the apple (or fig) of Judeo-Christian writings, women and fruit have been inextricably linked for millennia. Fruit is the basis of the temptation and fall from grace of Adam and Eve in the Bible, and serves as a treacherous precursor to conflict in mythologies such as the Greek golden apple's role in beginning the Trojan War. Women's bodies and body parts are often compared to apples, pears, melons, lemons, and other fruit. This association and dehumanization of women has facilitated an enduring mistreatment, ownership, and underestimation of capacity.

Inside, transformations are happening.

Women are characterized in terms of fruiting fertility, and their 'ripeness' and roundness when with child. These soft and romantic terms belie the real experience of vulnerability, exposure, and messiness of bringing forth existence – the bursting forth of fluids which nurtured and protected the life within. But new lives must leave the body just as seeds must leave the fruit. Birth is wet and messy. The flesh of real fruit is destroyed in order to free the seed - in nature it is consumed, opened, cleaved - the rawness of the flesh inside in opposition to the shiny, rough, or spiny outer skin. Women survive this process again and again, and are physically and emotionally changed by the experience in diverse ways. What remains is tied to our essence and our past.

The works in this collection probe my own vulnerability, the transformation of self reflected in identity, the exposure required to trust, and both the dehumanizing violence and beautiful creation intertwined within the body. These works consider not the exterior of fruit, but representations and abstractions of fruit and seeds sliced open, pared, translucent, and mysterious with the gift of creation. These are the transformations brought about in nature, and the bursting forth of life, in all its fleshiness and magnificence.

Durian Unsheathed

Oil on canvas
7.5" x 6"

Exposed Seeds

Oil on canvas
7.5" x 6"

Fig and Seed Pod

Acrylic and oil on canvas and linen
18" x 28"

Golden, Delicious

Oil on canvas
7.5" x 6"


Oil on canvas
32" x 32"

Husk and Cacao Fruit

Acrylic and oil on canvas and linen
26" x 28"


Acrylic and oil on canvas
20" x 16"

Tree of Life

Oil on linen
70" x 58"


Nicole Michaud was born to a French Canadian family in New Hampshire, U.S. in the 1970s. Her ancestors emigrated from western France in the mid-1600s, to settle in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region of Canada. Her family remained primarily in the Province of Quebec for six generations, emigrating to New England in the late 1800s. She has traveled abroad and extensively throughout the United States, and has visited all but two of the 50 U.S. States (North Dakota and Hawaii).

Ms. Michaud studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, PA, and lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. She creates works in various media, and explores themes of beauty, memory, melancholy, and personal history. She moves between abstraction and representation for many projects, and enjoys finding the intermediate area between the two.

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS: Stanek Gallery — Shifting Perspectives, Philadelphia PA 2020; Every Woman Biennial, New York, NY 2019; Stanek Gallery — Unbound—Works on Paper, Philadelphia PA 2019; The Gallery at Mercer County Community College, West Windsor NJ 2019; ArtExpo New York — Pier 94, New York, NY 2018; Stanek Gallery — Pure Abstraction, Philadelphia PA 2018; Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (FPAFA), Philadelphia, PA 2017; Avery Galleries, 5 To Watch, Bryn Mawr, PA 2016; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Alumni Gallery 2015; The 116th FPAFA Annual Juried Exhibition, Philadelphia PA 2015; 115th FPAFA — Annual Juried Exhibition, Philadelphia PA 2014; National Association of Women Artists, Inc. — Small Works Exhibition, New York NY 2014; Traditions of Excellence: Selected Artwork by the Faculty and Alumni of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts — Governor's Residence, Harrisburg, PA 2014; Artists Against Hunger — 2nd Annual Juried Exhibition 2014; Artists' House Gallery 2013—2014; Woodmere Art Museum — 71st Annual Juried Exhibition, Philadelphia, PA 2012

32 Poems
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