Drew Tal – Empire (Male)
Dimensions: 52 x 23.5″
Media: Duraflex fine art archival paper mounted between aluminum and clear plexiglass
In Empire (Male), Drew Tal expresses his interest in foreign cultures by exploring the roles and visual appearances of the members of an East Asian political dynasty, touching on the relationship between men and women in conjunction with the relationship between viewer and subject. While we consider leaders to hold a sense of agency over their subjects, the figure’s lack of physical dimensionality and unmoving stares instead subverts these traditional roles, where instead, the artist and audience fills the position of ruler.
Drew Tal grew up in the Middle East in the 1960s in the early stages of Israel’s statehood, granting him exposure to a cosmopolitan mix of cultures, races, and languages. Tal’s adolescence and encompassing environment have since provided the driving subject matter for his works and informed his artistic process. Much like the cultural collage of his past, Tal uses collage techniques in his work to layer photographs and painting in a contemporary and highly personal hybrid. Tal’s practice focuses on exploring the nuances and ways of life of individuals existing within cultures outside of his own. It combines a fascination with aesthetic beauty and cultural symbolism in his depictions of children and Islamic women. Through photography captured during his extensive travels, Tal uses the historical and cultural significance of textiles juxtaposed before the powerful and direct gazes of his subjects—insisting acknowledgment and reconsideration of previously established biases. Through his work, Tal celebrates diversity within modern life and the ability to transcend racial boundaries through visual, non-verbal mediums. Tal’s work has been shown in numerous renowned galleries around the world, in locations such as New York, Lille, Toronto, and Santa Fe.