Art is a conversation in space. And last month at Interstitial—Seattle’s newest and only gallery dedicated solely to new media art—curatorial director Julia Greenway and installation artist Pete Fleming had a chat.
“I don’t want to be known for my fashion,” Fleming says. “I want people to talk with me about my art. I want to have interactions and conversations.” Likewise for Greenway: “I see Interstitial as a space where you can be challenged, where we can spark discussion.”
When we visited Fleming and Greenway at Interstitial last week, though, we never would have expected our own discussion to turn towards grocery-store shirts and proper Home Depot attire.
“I think this shirt came from a grocery store,” Fleming shrugged. “It’s vintage grocery store!”
“But your boots and that denim!” I countered. “I believe in investing in a few items of clothing that are functional and will last,” Fleming explained. “I work all the time. I don’t want to be at Home Depot and have my pants fail.”
This simplicity also characterizes Fleming’s art. In his latest show at Interstitial, Dispersal Patterns, Fleming worked with the idea of gallery as void, a surface upon which artists and viewers play and pause and think. Filling the gallery were two large screens holding projected images of water. These videos were pure eye candy—lusciously undulating grey and blue waves abstracted just enough to turn the screens into immersive spaces. Is it water? Is it oil? Whatever it is, you just want to fall in.
This space of falling in, dipping beneath the surface, is where Fleming asks his viewers to have a conversation. He managed to create and hold this liminal space in the gallery, and it was there that you found your thoughts slowing down. You were present.
Not surprisingly, this aim for presence, for awareness, informs not just Fleming and Greenway’s artistic practice, but also their personal style. For them, art and style are intertwined.
“I knit this sweater myself!” Greenway revealed as I oogled her shoulder fringe. “In my curatorial work I want to talk about consumption and the value of special objects. I’m learning how to make things myself so I can change my relationship to consumerism.” Personally and with Interstitial, Greenway is looking at ways to be self-reflective about how we project and consume images: of ourselves, of others, of the world around us.
“I saw around me this stagnant pool of water,” Greenway explains. “It wasn’t moving. I wanted to change that with Interstitial. I wanted to create a place where we can talk about progressive, experimental, aggressive contemporary art. A space where we can create and where we can have dialogues.”
Interstitial’s next show, Hannah Patterson’s Wish You Were Her, opens April 11 with a reception from 6 to 9 that evening.