Melissa McGill is an interdisciplinary artist who creates ambitious, large-scale site-specific public art projects. She incorporates sculptural elements, light and sound to present experiential works that connect us to rich overlooked histories and traditions, while heightening awareness of our surroundings. Her land art project, CONSTELLATION, 2015-2017, installed on an island in the Hudson River, lit each night creating a new constellation transforming Bannerman castle ruin.
She has been exhibiting her artwork nationally and internationally since 1991, and additional recent projects include Palmas, 2014, Manitoga, Garrison, New York ; The Campi, 2018, Venice, Italy, as well as solo exhibitions at Francesco Pantaleone Arte Contemporanea, Milan; White Cube, London; Power House, Memphis; Palazzo Capello, Venice; and CRG Gallery, New York. She is a graduate of The Rhode Island School of Design.
Water- and land-based public art project to be presented in Venice and its Lagoon during the 58th International Art Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia 2019
Red Regatta pairs four evanescent water-based performances with an immersive land-based installation that will remain in situ during the Biennale.
Inviting viewers to consider the relationship between land and sea that has been integral to Venetian culture for a millennium, Red Regatta is also a meditation on the city’s fragile future.
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 of 100 works on paper is titled 100 Breaths (2016), shown here in a recent exhibition at David Weeks Studio . 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
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
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