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Interdisciplinary artist and resident of Eastern Christchurch, Melissa Macleod’s solo exhibition as the 2019 recipient of the Zonta Ashburton Female Art Award,The Trappings of Ghosts has seen the artist, capturing the fresh sea east of Wakanui Beach, east of Ashburton in 48 enormous bags installed in its public gallery.  

Macleod’s practice encompasses sculpture, photography and performance works that are socially engaged, conceptual and accessible in the broadest sense.  Once encountered it is impossible to resist wanting to see and know more, and in the process of doing so, finding yourself challenges ad seeking answers to the social, environmental and political contexts that they often represent.

The Trappings of Ghosts is an immersive installation that specifically responded to the Ashburton environment, particularly the Wakanui seaside.  In April her attention has also turned to places for current exhibitions in 'lock down' themselves and not necessarily about being in relation to herself. She says that her room of Wakanui sea air ‘sits silently in Ashburton,’ now a room of air carrying more meaning as a work that was hours, months, years in the research and making-  seen by a handful.   Macleod acknowledges that she is ‘not alone in this experience… ultimately the idea is Art communicates- is seen?’ 

Macleod comments that trying to make large installation in Christchurch is an unrelenting challenge and it is the moments of sweet passing response that you hold.  For anyone who has experienced Macleod’s work in the space of a gallery that feeling of an immediate connection with the objects she conceives and creates is a given.  They tend to be loud and immersive.  Her installation Deadwood at the Jonathan Smart Gallery in 2018 was, like all her work, a special experience. A work with a presence that heightened the experience and awareness of the space in the gallery itself Dead Wood was equally refused to compromise its presence by making the gallery visitor conscious that it was up to them to resolve its reason for being.

Macleod reflects: ‘The problem is I really love and value this temporary/ conceptual/ large scale area of sculptural practice- it is what is exciting. I will no doubt carry on.’



Melissa Macleod

The Trapping of Ghosts

Ashburton Art Gallery

327 West Street

7 March – 19 April


  1. Melissa Macleod, The Trapping of Ghosts, 2020. Trapping sea air at Wakanui
  2. Melissa Macleod, The Trapping of Ghosts, 2020, installation image


Melissa Macleod- The Trappings of Ghosts. Ensnaring the sea air at Wakanui

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