Meet the Conservators
Meet the staff members of the AGO's Conservation Department and learn about their backgrounds and areas of specialty.
- Lisa Ellis
- Christine Fillion
- Sherry Phillips
- Maria Sullivan
- Sandra Webster-Cook
- Joan Weir
- Katharine Whitman
Conservator, Sculpture and Decorative Arts
Lisa holds B.A.s from McGill in English Literature and Art History, M.A.s in Art Conservation (Queen's) and Art History (U of T) and has studied arts and crafts, spending a year in OCA's glass program. She completed internships at numerous museums in Canada and abroad: at Parks Canada, the Redpath and McCord Museum in Montreal, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Getty Museum, Historic New England, and the MFA, Boston, and spent time with archaeological material at the Agora Excavations in Athens, Greece, and at the Institute of Nautical Archaeology labs in Bodrum, Turkey.
Conservator, Paintings, OPT
Christine Fillion completed a BFA in visual arts and a BSc, majoring in chemistry, from Concordia University. Her studies at Queen's University from 1980-1982 led to a master's degree in Conservation in the areas of conservation of paintings and works of art on paper. She completed internships for the M.A.C. degree in Washington, D.C and Dűsseldorf, Germany. After more advanced internships at the Atelier CREPHART (Geneva), Jönköpings Länsmuseum (Sweden), the Institut royal du patrimoine artistique (Brussels, Belgium) and the Kunstmuseum Bern (Switzerland), she worked as a private conservator of paintings in Switzerland (Montreux, Auvernier and Fribourg). She was also employed as Conservator of Paintings at the Kunstmuseum Basel, the Historisches Museum Basel and the Antikenmuseum Basel. She is presently employed at the AGO as Conservator of Paintings. Christine has completed graduate degrees in Religious Studies (M.A.in Indic Religions and Sanskrit, McGill University) and also in Contemporary Continental Philosophy (M.A. Brock University). She is currently pursuing a B.A. degree at the University of Toronto in German Studies.
Conservator, Contemporary and Inuit Art
Sherry Phillips has been employed at the Art Gallery of Ontario since 1989, working as the Conservator of Contemporary and Inuit Art Collections since 1996. She is a graduate of the Conservation Program at Queen's University. Although her original focus was the conservation of paintings, working with contemporary objects over the years has cultivated a working knowledge of the esoteric, what to do, and not do, with anything from plastic to electronics to taxidermy specimens and everything in between.
Head of Conservation
Maria Sullivan is currently responsible for overseeing and coordinating the day-to-day activities of the AGO Conservation Department. She worked as a painting conservator at the AGO for a number of years prior to taking on her current position. Maria has family connections to three generations of art restorers/conservators and fell in love with the profession while working in The Netherlands with her uncle and cousin. She has an undergraduate degree in art history and received a master's degree in conservation, specializing in paintings, from the State University College at Buffalo in 1995. She pursued internships and fellowships in painting conservation at the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Intermuseum Conservation Association, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. She first came to the AGO in 1997 on a fellowship from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. In 2002, Maria served as Getty Senior Fellow and Lecturer in Painting Conservation at the State University College at Buffalo.
Conservator of Paintings, Historical and Modern
Sandra Webster-Cook began university studies in an applied science program with an interest in textiles and design, but transferred early on, graduating in Honors Science with a Chemistry specialization. After employment in biochemical research, she studied Art History and Studio Art entering the Queen's University Art Conservation program in 1980. Following internships in Ottawa, Paris and Minneapolis, she became the Assistant Conservator of Paintings at the Upper Midwest Conservation Association, Minneapolis Institute of Arts in 1982. Sandra was subsequently employed by the Canadian Conservation Institute in Ottawa from 1984 until 1987 when she became an employee of the Art Gallery of Ontario. She is responsible for the conservation of the historical, modern and contemporary paintings in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Conservator, Works on Paper
Joan conserves both historical and contemporary artworks. such as prints, drawings, watercolours and installation works as well as archival documents and books. She holds an undergraduate degree in fine art (studio) and as an art student studied printmaking, photography and sculpture. After graduating from NSCAD, she returned to school to study the necessary chemistry that is required for admission to art conservation programs and received a master's of Art Conservation from Queen's University, specializing in the conservation of paper objects.
Prior to working at the AGO, Katharine was a two-year Mellon Fellow in the Advanced Residency Program (ARP) at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography. Her work there culminated in the paper, The History and Conservation of Glass Supported Photographs (2007). She has published and lectured on the conservation of photographs on glass and co-taught workshops at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York and at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California (fall 2013).