Joana Ricou


Joana Ricou

Joana moved from Portugal to America to study art and biology at Carnegie Mellon University, which allowed her to work in the lab and in the studio. Her process includes a survey of research articles and news and contacting researchers to discuss their motivation and gather artifacts of their work. In the studio, Joana builds on these ideas to form questions about our concepts of self and our place in the world, usually in the form of oil paintings. A painting based on her work with Dr. Alison Barth was published as the cover of the Journal of Neuroscience (2005), supporting what has become her core motivation: that art can both support and contribute to science, and vice-versa. This has driven her work in science art and science education work since and has led to collaborations with galleries, schools and museums in Portugal and the USA, including the Andy Warhol Museum (2007), the Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Children's Museum of Pittsburgh and the National Aviary (2010).


We are made of many parts, and many types of parts, some very old, some very new, working together, in parallel, redundancy or opposition.
I’m interested in how biology unveils the natural discontinuity and boundaries of the body and the taboo of accepting ourselves as multiple and unbounded.
The "Henrietta Lacks" series explores the emerging identity of the first immortal human cell line, HeLa, and is inspired by microscopic images of the cells in the lab.  
"One, No One and One Hundred Thousand" explores the parallels between the plasticity of memory and the artistic processes of transfer and painting.


b. 1981, Blaine, MN
Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY

  • 2004Carnegie Mellon University, BFA
  • 2013One, No One and One Hundred Thousand, EdgeArts, Lisbon, Portugal
  • 2013Future Tense, Past Imperfect, LA Share
  • 2011Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Sweet Briar, VA
The studio is open to visit by appointment, please e-mail or call to schedule.