Anna Frlan

Contemporary Sculpture Artist


Anna Frlan, born in Ottawa, Canada, is the daughter of Croatian emigrees. Since receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Ottawa in 1998, Frlan has been exploring the creative adaptability of steel in contemporary sculpture. Her inquiry into steel’s manufactured strength reveals its feminine and malleable properties. She uses the welding machine as a sewing machine, seaming together cut sheet steel pieces to create three-dimensional forms. Frlan completes the cycle of transforming steel into a softer, fabric-like version by plasma cutting intricate patterns that she draws directly onto the sheet steel. In her quest to uncover the permutations of steel, Frlan also uses steel like clay, to build forms in a circular process of welding, liquefying and cooling. She strives to uncover possibilities, from wearing steel as a garment to exploring its resonant, musical qualities.¬†Frlan’s thematic concerns are expressed through her engagement with the history and impact of industrial steel, for good or for bad, on modern life. As artist-in-residence in 2016 at the Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum, she created sculptures for The Age of Atomic Anxiety exhibition, with works installed throughout the museum’s spaces such as the former Bank of Canada vault. She was invited to participate in A Sandwich[ed] Exhibition: Reshaping Identities Through Food, the Art Gallery of Windsor’s 2017 summer blockbuster exhibition featuring the work of Canadian and American artists. Frlan exhibited works from her Kitchen Anatomy series that explore the “kitchen as factory” concept that influenced the development of the Post WWII modern kitchen. In 2023, Frlan will install a large-scale commissioned public artwork of 13 water jet cut stainless steel sculptures for the City of Ottawa’s Rideau Street and Wiliam Street Renewal Project. The Navigators: Bees, Birds and Butterflies compares the navigational instincts of birds and insects to the complexity of public transportation on Rideau Street. Frlan is currently working in collaboration with professional improvising musicians in her Instruments of War: Steel and Sound project. She is creating interactive, playable sculptures that consider the extensive relationship between music and war. Frlan was bestowed with an honourary degree from the Ottawa School of Art in 2013 and was nominated for the Ottawa Arts Council’s Mid-Career Artist Award in 2022. She has received creative production funding from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Ottawa and the Corel Endowment for the Arts Award. Her work can be found in the collections of the City of Ottawa, the Art Gallery of Windsor, Nortel Networks, the Canadian Medical Protection Association and Deloitte and Touche Inc.


Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien.
We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.