Israeli artist Drew Tal was born into the rich cultural melting pot of the Middle East in the 1960s. He grew up as an artist-anthropologist, soaking in the diversity of languages, cultural traditions, and textures of the Middle East at that time. Tal is known for his sensitive depictions of people from cultures other than his own, such as Muslim women and Asian children.
“Surrounded with such a colorful collage of ethnicities, languages, nationalities, cultures and religions made me realize from an early age that the world beyond me was a rich and complex place. This revelation opened my eyes to the exotic, and made me extremely curious about people and their religions, customs, costumes and histories.” – Drew Tal
Tal’s work explores ideas of beauty and identity. With his layering of texture and pattern over his photographs, he creates a medium which is somewhere between a photograph and a painting. Additional meaning is layered into his pieces by his choices of texture and pattern, giving them a strong sense of identity and continuity.
Drew Tal’s large scale, dramatic close-up portraits confront the viewer with a penetrating gaze. Clear eyes emerge through veils of vegetal arabesque pattern or from crackled porcelain faces with quiet strength and surety. The work is profoundly emotive. There is neutrality in Tal’s presentation, yet the subject seems to challenge the viewer to reexamine their bias, while the purity and orderliness of the infinite patterns evoke a sense of transcendent beauty. His artistic iconography speaks quietly and subtly of the beauty of diversity in modern global society. Never blatant, always respectful, Tal guides us on a visual tour of humanity.