Melissa McGill

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. She is a graduate of The Rhode Island School of Design.

Explore CV

New Project— The Campi

Curated by Chiara Spangaro

Location – Venice 

This exhibition was on view from May 8th to May 14, 2017, coinciding with the opening of La Bienniale di Venezia-57th International Art Exhibition.

The Campi is a sculptural sound project that invokes daily life in the Venetian Campo (public city square), exploring the conversation between the visible and the invisible that defines public space.

The project was presented at three locations in Venice, creating an opportunity to explore hidden gems in the city. See more below.

Header Photo: Luca Marella

THE CAMPI, Venice, Italy, opened on May 9, 2017 coinciding with the opening week of La Biennale di Venezia – 57th International Art Exhibition. The Campi is a sculptural sound project that invokes the Venetian Campo: an open, irregularly shaped public square that is the historic heart of the neighborhood. Sculptural sound boxes and a series of related works on paper were presented at Casa/Studio Scatturin, a privately owned masterpiece by the great Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa, opened to the
public exclusively to exhibit The Campi, as well as Ca’ Tron and Giorgio Mastinu Fine Art. The exhibition at Giorgio Mastinu Fine Art continues through June.

The Campi, Venezia, Italia, é iniziata il 9 Maggio 2017, in coincidenza con la settimana di apertura della Biennale di Venezia – 57a Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte. The Campi è un progetto di scultura sonora che richiama il Campo veneziano: una piazza pubblica aperta forma irregolare che è il cuore storico del quartiere. Le sculture sonore insieme ad alcune opere su carta relative al progetto sono state presentate a: Casa/Studio Scatturin, una residenza privata tra i capolavori del grande architetto veneziano Carlo Scarpa aperta per l’occasione; Ca’ Tron, una delle sedi dell’Università IUAV di Venezia; Giorgio Mastinu Fine Art. L’esposizione alla galleria di Giorgio Mastinu sarà aperta fino a fine giugno.


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

Reverse Punctuation Constellations

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


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

100 Breaths

This series of 100 works on paper is titled 100 Breaths (2016), shown here in the solo exhibition titled Breathing Spaces at Francesco Pantaleone Arte Contemporanea, Milan, Italy. 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

Between the Two

This body of work explores mapping negative spaces and shadows in space with blown black glass and inky black rubber drawings.

Explore Project

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant erased, replaced with blossoming cherry trees

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


Between is a series of digital prints on cotton rag paper. Image groupings combine photograph fragments of the spaces between the figures in family photographs.

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