Inside\Within is a constantly updating web archive devoted to physically exploring the creative spaces of Chicago's emerging and established artists.

Support for this project was provided by The Propeller Fund, a joint administrated grant from Threewalls and Gallery 400 at The University of Illinois at Chicago.

Inside\Within is produced in Chicago, IL.

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Posts tagged as: Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA)


Zachary’s studio is one of many sites that has housed the USSA, a series started in 2009 that imagines our society as controlled by a Soviet regime. Through several interrelated projects he has examined the nation’s infrastructure, creating a orphanage, wellness center, and most recently a state church titled the Assembly. Inspired by Marvel comics, Zachary has formed a tetrad of alien gods that serve as the base of the religion, reimagining the letters U, S, S, A as a message from another planet rather than the title of a communist public.

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Ellen works from a studio inside of her apartment, surrounded by thread, fake flowers, and costumes made both for herself and other artists. Through staged acts she embodies decorative symbols and innocent icons, taking the form of a flower, bunny, or baby in order to highlight topics such as sexism and sexual objectification through stand-up comedy and strip routines. Interested in ornamentation and its potential for aggression, Ellen also produces sculptural work that is highly decorative, forming embroidered banners with complicated motifs and pom poms that aim to destroy corporate architecture.

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Joshua’s practice is blurred between his life and work, an overarching practice that is many times simply lived and not documented. When his work is presented to the public in the form of performance, he often provides a bounty of bulk flowers and previously disposed of food. These offerings are presented as gifts rather than trash, Joshua questioning society’s obsession with peak perfection and pointing to food and flowers’ own relationship to wealth and privilege.

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José Lerma's Neon Gestures


José Lerma's Neon Gestures

José Lerma's Neon Gestures

Lit with bright, white light from the floor to ceiling window at the front of his studio, José’s work is cast in an ethereal glow, bright pinks, purples, and blues converging to form the faces of bourgeois bankers and 17th century royalty. To create these large paintings José scales up his materials, using brooms to produce thick, sculptural paint strokes. His neon palette and tendency towards light-activated works serves as a distraction to his works’ content, forcing the audience to test their concentration while being bombarded with blinking lights.

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Jason uses image to build community around certain historical events and moments, often involving his subjects directly in the process of each of his ongoing projects. Understanding the social nature of photography, Jason has moved beyond pure documentation, layering his images with meaning that can either be digested or taken at face value. Looking outside the typical frame, Jason observes subjects from all angles, creating alternate ways of looking, even turning the picture to the wall to make the image something that can only be envisioned.

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Heidi uses glass, wax, and resin to encase plants, often giving her pieces the appearance of microscopic slides or photographic wet plates. Once worried about the inevitable death that would consume her plant-driven pieces, Heidi has since let go of her grasp on the plants’ continuous existence. The darkening of leaves and decay of root systems is now an accepted force, gradually altering the aesthetic appeal of her nature-based work through its own sculptural life cycle.

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