Michelle Goans

Artist Bio

Illinois born artist Michelle Goans graduated Cum Laude from Northern Illinois University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. After graduating Michelle spent her time as a practicing artist and art advocate. Since 2017 she has been based out of Visalia, California, where she became the Gallery Director at Arts Visalia Visual Arts Center in March, 2020. As a member of multiple arts organizations, Michelle strives to improve the arts within her community and beyond.

Michelle’s art has been exhibited across the United States, including juried, group, and solo exhibitions. In 2020 Michelle was included in the Trumped 2.0 Portfolio Exchange which is now a permanent part of the Prints and Photographs collection at the Library of Congress.


Artist Statement

Examining its ideologies, my work showcases my personal journey to feminism and the circumstances that led me toward feminist principles. This includes the imagery and stories that have inspired me throughout childhood and contemporary political issues of today. By incorporating references to events that have occurred throughout time in many of my pieces, I endeavor to show how history repeats itself and maintain that we must learn from our past to create a better future.

For over 3500 years there is evidence of birth control use and abortions being performed. This means that women throughout history have tried to be in control of their own bodies. This has led me to begin to explore the methods used, specifically the varieties of plants and herbs. The Eber Papyrus (1550 BC) contains one of the earliest known examples of an abortion method. This knowledge has led me to explore the variety of methods that have been employed to obtain an abortion. This includes a range and combination of herbs, flowers, fruits, and animal-by-products. I combine these abortifants with fertility goddess symbols into my work to represent the duality of fertility. Introspection into my own experience with reproductive rights has led to The Stork Series; A collection of lithographs depicting a two headed stork as an allegory for my reproductive organs.