• These paintings explore ways to describe the world on its own terms, showing how the water inside us speaks to the water surrounding us. The calligraphic evidence in nature reminds us how our primordial mode of being is without “edges,” without definite separateness between things, but exists in a non-linear, circular time that pervades the planet. Inviting us to become more porous—to move within and like water—I recreate an environing script that doesn’t rely on traditional language so much as it ciphers the essence of translation, conversation, collaboration, and symbiosis.

    They are  are made with homemade organic indigo paint, sometimes with chlorophyllin derived from mulberry tree leaves,  mixed with my own fresh homemade protein rich soy milk binder.

    Our intertwined relationship with water and the environment runs through these intimate works–water is as much a vital substance as an expressive language—be this articulated through wind, waves, shifting light and shadow, or the flow of time itself.

  • Oceanus, 2021
    Organic indigo on clay coated wood panel
    36 x 30 x 1.5 inches

  • Current, 2022
    Organic indigo on clay coated wood panel
    36 x 30 x 1.5 inches

  • In the Language of these Waters, 2022
    Organic indigo on clay coated wood panel
    30 x 36 x 1.5  inches

Projects

  • Red Regatta: Riflessi

    Captured during Red Regatta’s performances in 2019 in Venice, these photographic works document the reflections of the red sails as they fleeted together across the Venetian lagoon. An immersive installation of these works was installed at Totah inviting viewers to be surrounded in Venice’s lagoon, bathing in the afterglow of the Red Regatta.

  • Red Regatta

    Red Regatta was an independent public art project created by artist Melissa McGill that activated Venice’s lagoon and canals with four large-scale regattas of traditional vela al terzo sailboats hoisted with hand-painted red sails in 2019. Presented in collaboration with Associazione Vela al Terzo, curated by Chiara Spangaro, with project manager Marcella Ferrari, the project was co-organized by Magazzino Italian Art, with support from Mazzoleni.

  • 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.

     

  • In the Waves

    In the Waves by artist Melissa McGill, curated by Dodie Kazanjian, was a series of live free public art performances activating the landscape and evoking the urgency of rising sea levels and a rapidly changing climate. The artist invited members of the local community to join the ensemble of this inclusive movement-based public artwork to create a shared meaningful experience about these environmental themes. The ensemble was led by the artist with Davalois Fearon, choreographer and Melanie George, producer and dramaturg.
    The project took place place on the ancestral lands of the Niantic Narragansett Nation at Rough Point in Newport, Rhode Island and was presented by Art&Newport and Newport Restoration Foundation.

    Photo by Caroline Goddard for Tom Powel Imaging

  • Palmas

    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.

  • Constellation

    Constellation was 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 went 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. Constellation references a belief of the Lenape, the indigenous people of this area, of Opi Temakan, the “White Road” or “Milky Way” connecting our world with the next. The project launched in late June, 2015 and was on view through October 2017.

  • The Campi

    A sculptural sound project

    Exploring the conversation between the visible and the invisible that defines public space, The Campi invokes daily life in five campi, the open, irregularly shaped public squares that serve as the historic heart of every Venetian neighborhood.

     

  • 100 Breaths

    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.

  • Call and Response

    It is a time of great change, and it is a time of listening deeply—to each other and to the sounds around us.  In our suddenly quieter world, the sound of the birds can now be heard more clearly.

    This online project invites you to stop and listen. Call and Response refers to the actual format of this project—my call and received responses from around the world—as well as themes of community, connection and conversation. 

     

  • These Waters

    These Waters (2022), an immersive sculptural installation created at the invitation of and with support from Vacheron Constantin. Composed of five large-scale photographs of New York’s Hudson River on glass, five panels lean against each other and the wall, appearing to be portals into the waters, their size and placement evoking the rise and fall of the tides.  

  • Between the Two

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

  • 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.