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Interior Life

juried by Strange Fire Collective

Filter Photo is pleased to present Interior Life, a group exhibition juried by Strange Fire Collective. This exhibition coincided with the 2020 Filter Photo Festival.

Jurors' Statement

This We Have Now

(from Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks)

This we have now

is not imagination.

This is not

grief or joy.

Not a judging state,

or an elation,

or sadness.

Those come and go.

This is the presence that doesn't.


For most of us, the past few months have been filled with introspection due to spending large amounts of time alone or with small family groups. The world has fundamentally changed as a result of physical distancing and the long pause that the current pandemic has foisted upon us all. We’ve learned to explore our spaces, to watch the shadows on the walls, and the way the sun hits certain parts of the house at different times of the day. In this moment of slowing down, many of us have found a presence that we lacked in the time before, when we were often busy and harried. Yet, before the pandemic, there was also an innocence in the way we experienced the world and each other; none of us were yet aware of the havoc that was to become our shared reality.

The images we’ve selected speak to the theme of Interior Life in this current, complex moment. Long shadows on walls and light through windows hint at time’s passing. Time is central to the idea of presence; collectively, we have lost a sense of the days, weeks, and months. Collections of house plants and domestic animals draw our attention to the care given to people’s personal spaces. Whether they be green flowering life, or a beloved dog or cat, these companions remind us of the interconnectedness of life, and – most importantly – that we are not alone in this experience, no matter how isolated we may feel.

In the face of existential questioning and fear, we are reminded that the things we have often taken for granted – home, family, routine – are actually the most fundamental and precious. The hands of a young man simultaneously tenderly touch and cut the hair of an older man. A Zoom portrait of an older woman reminds us of the technology that, already omnipresent, has become a staple of communication and connection. Finally, a tiny yellow house against a blue sky and white clouds reminds us of the world outside our quarantine. It provides hope for the future and the new reality that we are all dreaming of and working towards: a bold, just, diverse, inclusive, and connected society.

Featured Artists

Lois Bielefeld

Gary Edward Blum

Tuan H. Bui

William Camargo

Jeanie Choi

Anastasia Davis

Annie Donovan

Jesse Egner

Arthur Fields

Nate Francis

Preston Gannaway

Brian Gee

Juan Giraldo 

Conner Gordon

Olivia Alonso Gough

Mario El Khouri

Erica McKeehen

Darren Lee Miller

Deepanjan Mukhopadhyay

Jeremy Ng

Lingfei Ren

Rolls and Tubes Collective

Annick Sjobakken

Dean Snodgrass

Ursula Sokolowska

Liz Steketee

Wendy Stone

Sarah Sudhoff

Nicole White  

Zoë Zimmerman

About the Jurors

Strange Fire Collective is a group of interdisciplinary artists, curators, and writers focused on work that engages with current social and political forces. They seek to create a venue for work that critically questions the dominant social hierarchy and are dedicated to highlighting work made by women, people of color, and queer and trans artists.

Their collective practice is centered around increasing the visibility of meaningful work and creating dialogue and community through publications, exhibitions, and events. They are committed to making their projects accessible, affordable, and socially relevant. Strange Fire was formed in 2015 by Jess T. DuganRafael SoldiZora J. Murff, and Hamidah Glasgow.

On View: August 28 – October 3, 2020

Location: Filter Space | 1821 W Hubbard St, Suite 207

This exhibition was partially sponsored  by The Illinois Arts Council Agency and a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events.

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