Melissa McGill’s work involves an interdisciplinary process, primarily incorporating drawing, sculpture, and sound to explore the space between absence and presence, bringing to light the lost, hidden, overlooked and ephemeral. Her projects invite a visual dialogue between what is visible and what is invisible.
She has been exhibiting her artwork internationally since 1991, including large scale public art projects in the landscape, such as Constellation and Palmas, as well as one-person exhibitions at White Cube, London; Power House, Memphis; Palazzo Capello, Venice; and CRG Gallery, New York, who represents her work in the United States. She is a graduate of The Rhode Island School of Design.
Constellation is a large-scale sculptural project installed around the ruins of Bannerman's Castle on Pollepel Island in the section of the Hudson River that passes through Hudson Highlands State Park. Every evening, as the sun goes down, starry lights emerge one by one with the stars of the night sky, creating a new constellation and connecting past and present, light and dark, heaven and earth.Explore Project
This series of two sided works on paper is a collaboration with writer Sam Anderson. He responded to Melissa McGill’s public art project, Constellation, with typewritten quotes and original pieces. McGill marked the typewritten pages with graphite, pastel, watercolor, Sumi Ink, and charcoal. Then, punching out the periods, punctuation, pauses and/or spaces in the written works with a Japanese hole punch, she created new constellations, illuminated when light shines through the pages.Explore Project
This series, shown here in the studio, is titled 100 Breaths (2016) and consists of 100 works on paper. The artist made each drawing with her breath, blowing metal dust suspended in varnish to create drawings that refer to both geography and the body. The gold, copper and silver forms are highly responsive to ambient light and change throughout the day, as the light changes in the room. They flare up and soften as the viewer moves and looks at them from different angles.Explore Project
Watermark: Sea of Aral explores ideas about changing water levels and the marks left behind by water. This drawing in space is evocative of our physical experience of wading in water as it superimposes a changing body of water onto the geometry of an architectural space . Currently in progress, the project’s maquette shows a 3-dimensional contour drawing of the Sea of Aral as it was in 1960 (it has shrunk to the point of almost vanishing).Explore Project
Palmas activated the Quarry Pool and encircling paths at Manitoga: The Russel Wright Design Center. It was a two part project : A surround sound installation and a live performance. The work takes its name from the improvised, rhythmic clapping that is an integral part - the heartbeat - of Flamenco. Palmas animated the site aurally, inviting a heightened sense of awareness of the site's landscape.Explore Project
Campo Box is an ambient sound box in the shape of the open space of the city square, Campo Santa Maria Formosa, in Venice, Italy.
When closed the box murmurs mysteriously until the viewer lifts the lid to release a world of everyday ambient sounds recorded in that particular campo at different times of the day.
These digital renderings depict Melissa McGill's proposal to erase the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant and replace it with cherry trees.Explore Project
The Belles forms are made from casts of the hollow interior spaces of 10 different female porcelain figurines. They are positive versions of these hidden empty spaces, which retain a faint and almost ghostly resemblance to their outer shells.
As viewers move around the space to ring The Belles, the work activates the space sonorously. The bell's sound is juxtaposed with the figure’s abstraction, resonating from the form it once held.Explore Project
Slipside's forms were created by casting the hollow interior spaces of ordinary, mass-market porcelain figurines. The results are positive versions of these empty spaces that possess a faint ghostly resemblance to their outer shells. The porcelain castings were made during two Arts/Industry residencies at Kohler in Wisconsin.Explore Project