6 July—31 August 2024

Gabrielle L'Hirondelle Hill


Vancouver-based artist Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill works across various disciplines to reflect on knowledges and economies that provide alternatives to dominant modes of thinking. Interested in how value is ascertained, Hill examines systems of exchange, circulation, and ownership that shape the way we arrive at determining meaning. Synthesizing an affective approach to materials that considers their social histories, Hill’s works build new structures grounded in ideas of kinship and plenitude. 

At Mercer Union, the artist’s exhibition takes up the ideology, experience, and practice of motherhood through its manifold signifiers. Hill uses found materials including blackberries, hair, silk tissue and photocopied magazines, to construct an aesthetic in which memory and place are centred. M***** draws resonances between 16mm film stock and collage to consider the particular ability of each to embalm and encapsulate a cyclical experience of time. A series of sculptures made of disassembled umbrella frames reference ideas and sensations related to conception: images of spores, parasites, and body orifices are suspended from the armatures, contributing toward a visceral understanding of reproduction. New drawings on silk tissue are soaked in blackberry ink, the seams lightly sutured with film tape. Elsewhere in the gallery, this pictorial surface reoccurs as a set of projections within a looping, cameraless film installation. 

Across the exhibition, Hill brings together a body of work that speaks to motherhood as both a corporeal and disembodied experience, with the capacity to transcend linear time through the bonds it forms. Of particular interest are the social readings surrounding procreation, the silent “M” of the exhibition title pointing to the denigration that is oft attributed to feminine labour and parenthood. Between the tethers of the inconsequential and the insurmountable, Hill’s revaluation of motherhood locates within it a network of care, one that can bear, endure, and reshape its own incommensurability.


Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill is an artist and writer. Her practice explores the history of found materials to enquire into concepts of land, property, and economy. Recent exhibitions include the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2023); Le Magasin CNAC, Grenoble (2023); the 59th Venice Biennale (2022); the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2021); the College Art Galleries at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon (2020); and Gallery TPW, Toronto (2018). She is a member of BUSH gallery, an Indigenous artist collective that seeks to challenge Eurocentric art models, and to centre the land and Indigenous epistemologies. Hill is Cree and English, with maternal roots in the Michel Band and Papaschase. She lives on the unceded territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, xʷməθkʷəy̓əm and səlilwətaɬ Nations.

Gabrielle L'Hirondelle Hill: M***** is co-produced by Mercer Union, Toronto, and the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver.