Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready and artist Kate Neckel team up to face their fears in new exhibition

Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready and artist Kate Neckel team up to face their fears in new exhibition
McCready and Neckel. Courtesy of Winston Wächter gallery.
Leading lights  -   Artists

When Mike McCready, guitarist of the popular band Pearl Jam, comes up in conversation you might think artist, but usually it’s not in a visual artist context. That, however, may soon change as he and New York- and Seattle-based artist Kate Neckel have united to form a unique art duo called Infinite Color & Sound.

McCready grew up around art, though. For nearly 30 years his mother taught art so McCready was no stranger to the visual arts but he found the likes of artists like Monet, Van Gogh, and Warhol intimidating. Even after playing for packed out stadiums for almost three decades, McCready told RollingStone that he ‘held artists on such an iconic level that [he] never felt [he] could even try’ to create art. ‘I never had the confidence,’ he continued.

Neckel, known for her abstracted ‘bold outlines’ and works with major fashion magazines like Vogue and Vanity Fair, had the exact inverse of McCready’s experience. While she has found the realm of visual arts to be her principle means of expression, she couldn’t bring herself to perform, namely sing, in front of anyone.

The pair met in 2018 when McCready’s wife, Ashley O’Connor, commissioned what O’Connor would refer to as ‘an abstracted family portrait’ from Neckel and they eventually began to discuss their respective creative outlets. Out of this conversation, they thought that by working together, they might be able to overcome their fears. McCready originally wanted to create a Warhol-esque but they decided to embark on their own path. ‘I don’t need to rip something off that has already been done so amazingly,’ recalled McCready. Instead, they chose to scale down their goals to focus on pushing their own creative boundaries. Now, through their pseudo-band, they’ve decided to face their fears together, creating art and songs in what Neckel calls a ‘super organic and natural’ manner.

Infinite Color & Sound have created visual art including canvases, instruments, and mannequins. They’ve collaborated to create songs. At times, they have created, alongside each other, paintings influenced by music and vise versa. ‘You could drop us anywhere and we could create,’ says Neckel in a statement from the Winston Wächter gallery. ‘We intuitively guide each other and know how to play like kids. Mike feels what I feel and knows exactly what to do with it. I trust his hands and eyes like my own.’

Beginning on March 22nd, the art duo will put their exploration on view, facing yet another fear. The Winston Wächter gallery in Seattle, which represents Neckel, will run a show by the name of ‘Sway: Infinite Color & Sound’ exhibiting works by the pair until May 18th. Named for McCready’s favorite Rolling Stone’s song, ‘Sway’ will exhibit works of collage, painting, sculpture, drawing, music, and performance pieces. The chorus of song directly relates to the fear both the artists faced through most of their career and life saying: ‘it’s just that demon life has got you in its sway.’ Thus, it seems that McCready and Neckel hope that ‘Sway’ encourages viewers to get out of the get uncomfortable, to get out of their everyday.