Vertical Gallery, AJ Ainscough take you inside ‘Back Outside’
Vertical Gallery is very proud to present ‘Back Outside,’ the debut solo exhibit from Chicago-based painter AJ Ainscough. ‘Back Outside,’ which runs from Aug. 13 through Sept. 4 at Vertical Project Space’s West Town location (2006 W. Chicago Ave. #1R; enter via the alley off Damen Ave.), features 13 new canvases rendered in Ainscough’s already inimitable style — a controlled chaos that embraces and subverts traditions including pop art, cartoon realism, impressionism and surrealism.
‘Back Outside’ — which arrives six months after ‘A Warrior in the Garden,’ the Line Dot Editions joint showcase pairing Ainscough with Chicago printmaker and painter Steve Seeley — explores the artist’s efforts to navigate the increasingly precarious twists and turns of everyday life situations. “This body of work is about restlessness,” Ainscough explains. “It’s about never relaxing, and about an inability to really let go and enjoy the space around you because of the thoughts in your head.”
The outsize, fantastical imagery dominating ‘Back Outside’ belies the autobiographical intimacy of Ainscough’s work. “Each figure in each painting is a version of myself,” he says. “It’s a different adaptation of what I’m feeling, but I interpret and exaggerate my experiences to emphasize whatever feeling I’m trying to create.”
Ainscough was born and raised in Chicago Heights, Ill. He began sketching as a toddler, later churning through artistic influences ranging from Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues to the Garbage Pail Kids trading card series to the underground comix of R. Crumb. He initially aspired to a career in animation, but switched his focus to painting while a student at Eastern Illinois University under the tutelage of mentor Chris Kahler.
Ainscough has since contributed to group shows in Chicago, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Los Angeles, and later in 2022 his work will appear in the Vertical Gallery group show ‘Atomic Number 13 Part 2’ as well as ‘#INK 2’ at Vertical Project Space. His portfolio also includes a summer 2022 mural for Soho House Chicago.
Aug 13 - Sept 4, 2022
Opening day: Saturday August 13th, 12-5
AJ will be in attendance on opening day
Vertical Project Space, 2006 W Chicago Ave #1R, open weekends noon-5pm