Skip to content Skip to main navigation

pleasurehome: desiring queer space

four months—four new works—one by one—here; welcome to the pleasurehome. an exhibition inspired by Catherine Opie, featuring John Greyson, Evan Sproat, Kaeten Bonli, and Shawné Michaelain Holloway, curated by Logan Williams, in collaboration with the Art Museum at The University of Toronto and the Jackman Humanities Institute. we’re happy you’re here—in this queer home. this month: Evan Sproat’s Fated Union. On view until March 3, 2022.

Photograph of person with scratches on back in front of green background.

Catherine Opie

Self-Portrait / Cutting
40 x 30 inches (101.6 x 76.2 cm) Edition of 8, 2 AP
© Catherine Opie, Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles and
Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, London, and Seoul

 you  catch a glimpse of your body as you strip off your sweat-soaked  clothes, naked in the mirror. breathing, moving. if only you could  explode out of the container. 
two women carved 
 rendered in childish forms  
 a house the sun some gulls 
 the “household” upended 
 incisions made in Opie’s back 
 drip and ooze palpable 
 the transference of the pain on my body 
 reaching out and touching me 
 carnal hermeneutics 
 the lesbian home  
 corporeal ten commandments 
 and the abject stains of blood and gore 
 immediate refusal for some even vomit 
 the scene is one of hope and violence 
 audience oscillation  
 desiring her pain  
 a new story told 
 the lesbians are me 
 they are you too 
 the scar will surely stay 
 sprawled on supple skin 
 reminders of otherwise 
 horizons exploding like dormant volcanoes 
 this body suffering for us                                    
  opie’s drawing her skin too 
 becoming life-size taking form 
 making real communities 
 desires pulsing unencumbered 
 this new home  
 what does that place look like? 
 where do you come home to your queer desires? 
 and when? 
 imagining spaces 
 arriving in your body 
 carrying with you the crass and dull weights 
 of expectation and survival  
 shedding them now 
 building new trusses  
 a roof for us  
 our desire our real real bodies  
 exploding out of the container 
 how did you get home?  

2 – Fated Union

Black and white photograph of person in white dress with arms bent outwards.

Evan Sproat

Fated Union, 2022

Photographs by Brigitte Patenaude

Fated Union was presented in February 2022 as the second installment of this project. For inquiries on where to view it, visit

Old, new, borrowed, blue; pleasurehome: desiring queer space welcomes Evan Sproat’s Fated Union as this month’s featured artwork. 

In the act of reproduction, the praying mantis is famously known for ripping off the head of her lover, his fertilization providing up to 400 eggs which she guards with fierce protection from other insect predators. She is the strong-willed, passionate woman of story books and speculative fiction, the prescient symbol of a fierce feminism as she rears her mantids for a cruel survivance plagued by potential cannibalism. Her slow, articulated movements are balletic and gestural, acting as the perfect guise for the potency of her attack, thousands of sharp protrusions rendering her prey helpless as she digests them through her slender body. In shades of blue and ivory, Evan Sproat’s Fated Union sees the story of the mantis told in a repurposed wedding gown, replete with supple bows and delicate buttons, in a series of striking photographs that crackle with nostalgia with the use of 120mm film. Sproat’s practice has been lauded as a meditative approach to character, weaving together a storied mise-en-scene with craft, handiwork, costume and set production, including his own body as the subject of these narratives. Confronting stories perpetuated through the expectations of normative gender performance, Sproat welcomes the emergence of a complicated dialectic between artist and audience, creating space for encounters in which the viewer can project themselves into the unfolding scene, wrapped in plush environments that challenge notions of performance, comfort, and home. Protruding nails from knit gloves removed from the walls of his old apartment and a dress given to him by a former housemate are imbued with a sense of lived history; remnants of home are reimagined as tools to build new worlds. 

The ravenous mantis and the dewy wedding day collide to reveal the desire and violence inherent in queer experience, upending the marriage vows as performative constructions beckoning reconsideration. Fated Union seductively draws the eye to the immaculate composition of fabrics and textures while complicating the gaze through material interventions, the male body standing as both bride and insect. The photographs beckon for slow-time on the online interface, where hyper-fast scrolling and tiresome Zoomscapes dominate our capacity for attention, prompting an intimate viewing experience in which to contemplate the construction of homes and how we build them. Fated Union vulnerably stages the intersections of a haunting past and a potential future in which queer home springs to life.   


An immense thank you to Barbara Fischer for her belief and guidance in the unfurling of this project; to Marianne, Maureen, and Esther at the Art Museum whom have made this project possible; to Kaitlyn Simpson for her genius; to Cathy Opie who helped sow the seeds of the exhibition; to Alison and Kim at the JHI for their unwavering support; to Cosita, SKP, and Z for their love and listening; to John, Evan, Kaeten and Shawné for their brilliance and versatility, to whom I dedicate this queer home. And to you, for being here. Thank you.