LaNia Sproles: Products of the Heart

November 12, 2023 - February 25, 2024

Can a Negress in distress do this?!, 2021

On view through February 25, 2024
Opening reception: Sunday, November 12, 2023, 2-4 pm

The portraits in Products of the Heart are recent, finished between 2021 and 2023. They employ various methods of making—painting, drawing, printmaking, collage--and reveal the artist’s fascination with kinship. From the baroque, dimensional frames she incorporates into the earlier portraits to the patterned, nature-inflected backgrounds of the most recent work, Sproles builds vivid environments to establish each subject’s emotional complexity. What she describes as “displays of sentiments” transform her subjects into “monumental emblems”; portraits that stretch across the surface of the wall can also operate like landscapes. These portraits are acts of reclamation, an answer to our imprinted faith that marginalized bodies are not sites of credence and power. Of her subjects, Sproles writes: “Their direct qualm gazes remind the viewer to spectate diligently and for the subjects to secure refuge in their dreamscapes. The nostalgic overtone entwined with fantastical elements solidify the playful adoration vital for these relationships of mine to thrive. Collectively, these figures pay homage to the importance of preserving one's humanity through carefully maintained curiosity.”

About the Artist
Until recently, LaNia Sproles (American, b. 1995) lived and worked in the segregated city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin where they also received a BFA from Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 2017. Now based in Chicago, their work spans several disciplines including: printmaking, drawing, and collage. The philosophies of self-perception, queer and feminist theories, and inherent racial dogmas are essential to the artist’s work. Sproles examines the works of feminist artists and writers such as Octavia Butler, Kara Walker, and Rebecca Morgan. In 2020, they completed their year as a 2019 Mary L. Nohl Fellow, continued as a teaching artist-in-residence at the Lynden Sculpture Garden, and guest curated an exhibition hosted by NADA art fair with The Green Gallery. Sproles has exhibited several artworks with Elijah Wheat Showroom hosted by David Zwirner’s online exhibition space, Platform, and with Goldfinch Gallery and FLXST Contemporary in Chicago.

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