Artist and curator Maya Fuhr wants to expand upon the dialogue that is currently whirling around about the female form – and she's using her new Toronto-based exhibition, Body Talk, to do so. By challenging the conventional ideals of beauty propagated by the mainstream press by providing alternative visions of femininity that draw on both reality and fantasy – through sculptural works and photography (from abstract, self-portraiture to documentary, and still life) – by juxtaposing the 'ideal' commercial body type alongside the 'unusual'. She explains. “I'm not trying to promote a particular body shape of plus size or curvy or focus on super slim. I want to showcase all kinds of body types especially the often under-represented, size 4-10 (US). Creating social consciousness about an issue can definitely be strongly executed through photographs and media, however, this show is about the artist's own stories. The natural body shapes on display are perhaps relatable, therefore provoking conversation about our own bodies."
By choosing to illustrate the “natural” body in its myriad of appearances, this honest depiction sees the artists included in the show turn towards the surreal, and Fuhr’s own work features in the show. One of her photos depicts a still life made up of potato head toys. The collection of weird plastic shapes evoke the human form: “It speaks about the female body growing and evolving over time like a potato does,” she says. In this way, she travels from the body to plastic objects, to the Earth and back again. Elsewhere, photographer Claire Milbrath shows work from her two series, “Tasty Wet Hard Cock" and "Waiting for Punishment", depicting two guys having sex. "Her male characters are always seen as vulnerable and objectified," muses Fuhr. "She challenges the way we depict and represent female sexuality by replacing women with men in typical laying down, vulnerable, sexualised positions.
Other names including Dafy Hagai, Neva Wireko and Rebecca Storm will also be showing work, with Fuhr concluding, "I hope to provoke conversation about all sorts of themes including insecurities, pressures, empowerment and sexuality. The capacity a photo has to be taken out of context should be openly discussed because there isn't necessarily a theme to this show, but more a hope to inspire an openness to learn about other's bodies and the feelings they kindle. We're showcasing natural bodies as things of beauty. There's a wide range of bodies out there, and I love every single one of them!"
Body Talk opens tonight – curated by Maya Fuhr and Devan Patel – at Project Gallery Toronto until May 29, 2016