Nancy Fried began creating terra-cotta torsos of women who had undergone radical mastectomies in 1986 following her own mastectomy. She subsequently chose not to have her missing breast reconstructed.
It is Fried’s subtle use of nostalgia, and her ability to bridge the divide between the loss and pain of a mastectomy and the pride and power of diversity, that sets her apart from the majority of her colleagues. Fried’s embracing disability as an identity not to be “overcome” is what makes her work art and not therapy. Fried says she hopes to help “redefine female beauty,” and her torsos do this by virtue of their honesty and power.