December 12, 2019 - February 1, 2020 (extended)
By NICHOLE JANKOWSKI, March 2020
You’d be forgiven for walking into Maya Fuhr's fourth solo show, “Tec Style,” at 10 Years Ago Gallery and thinking you knew what was coming. In the first room, there's a framed issue of “The Editorial” magazine, open to a spread she shot for the independent, Montreal-based arts publication last year, called Snake Fashions. Twin photographs of the same ball python—held by a gloved hand, its head and tail tucked into a snake print go-go boot—are mounted in a lightbox, and printed onto a soft, panne velvet carpet: Original Fassshion and Original Fassshion (Rug), both 2019. There's also a looping video, Saturday Night, 2019, of the lithe creature; a ruched, periwinkle Barbie dress threaded onto its frame.
But enter the main gallery and you're confronted by the artist's meditations on personal culpability after a decade glamorizing the industry. Fashion has a lot to account for and Fuhr has been keeping score. But instead of pointing fingers, she's examined her own contributions. The subjects—appearing in lightboxes, as aluminum-printed photographs, naturally dyed and encased in resin, or printed onto rugs—are clothes, and not the kind that have made Fuhr a sought-after fashion photographer. The inventory is entirely hers: second-hand, stained, dyed, worn and darned, never discarded. A single sock, encased in terracotta plaster (Catwalk, 2019), comes from a large collection of loners the artist has amassed by never throwing the mate of a missing stocking away.
“Tec Style” is fashion imagery divorced from the fashion economy. Fuhr's presenting a radical proposition here: that the clothes we own, what’s already been made, is enough. There’s also a glimpse into her utopia, where garments are no longer manufactured en masse, only on demand (no offcuts, hazardous dyes) by the same process used to create the cartoonishly large 3D-printed boots, Ch.an.el, 2019, on display. Until then, consumers can become part of a closed-loop system through the ritualized and meticulous care of our belongings, a process she's been documenting for years. Through her work, Fuhr is asking: what role do we have in constructing the world we want to see? WM