Arguably the greatest American photographer, Walker Evans was visually omnivorous and found unprecedented subjects everywhere he looked as he traversed the United States before and after, but most effectively during the Great Depression. Among the most eloquent of his discoveries were the advertising and information signage he spotted everywhere, and the most evocative of these were crumbling posters, their neglected condition indicative of desperate economic times. As art, they worked on two levels: as content, the commercial images revealed compelling layers of cultural and psychological materials, while technically their decaying condition bespoke history and the erosion brought about by time and the elements. Artist, innovative gallery director, and local businessman John Sproul may not have been consciously thinking of Evans’ photographs while inventing the voluptuous technique seen in Body to Body (though his extensive familiarity with recent art includes them), but one of his accomplishments here is to replace the accidental character of those indelible images with a way of reproducing their effects: one he can control and even direct like a flashlight into certain dark areas that tantalized his awareness when he first began to make art, only to grow gradually more visible to him over long years spent delineating the neglected and overlooked, yet to the discerning, still expressive powers of the human form. . .
Read the full review of John Sproul’s Body to Body exhibit in the January 2017 edition of 15 Bytes.