In the early 2000’s, artist Gillian Genser began working on a sculpture of the biblical figure of Adam that would transform her life utterly. She hoped to reframe a story of domination, subjugation and control as a narrative that explored the interconnected, symbiotic relationship we have with the natural world. In the process of creation, however, the artist encountered destruction. Through the fine grinding of the mussel shells that formed Adam’s body, Gillian was exposed to some of the very pollutants (arsenic, cadmium and lead) that plague our planet. It was a devastating injury from which she will never fully recover.
Gillian’s story has been covered widely by the international press.
Echoes is her first gallery show.
April 2021, The Globe and Mail: Toronto sculptor Gillian Genser’s new work depicts our connection to the environment, and one another
December 2018, Global News broadcast: Poisoned by environmental sculptures
January 2019, BBC: How a sculptor’s artwork slowly poisoned her
January 2019, Globo News (Brazil): Artista canadense é intoxicada com a própria obra
January 2019, Ilgiornale (Italy): Gillian Genser, la storia dell’artista avvelenata dalla sua stessa opera d’arte
November 2018, Toronto Life: My beautiful death
December 2018, Washington Post: An artist suffered mysterious symptoms for years. Then she realized her sculpture was poisoning her
December 2018, CBC online article and radio broadcast: This sculptor got heavy metal poisoning from working with mussel shells
December 2018, Daily Mail (UK): Toronto sculptor, 59, shares how she was diagnosed with heavy-metal poisoning after spending 15 years ‘sanding and grinding’ mussels to make her sculptures as it emerges the shells were likely from polluted waters