Drew Tal – Mae-Ling
Dimensions: 42 x 27.4″ unframed
Medium: Vibrachrome print on aluminum
Drew Tal’s work, Mae-Ling, plays with the intersection of western and eastern perceptions of young children, where the girl acts as both the embodiment of her traditional, cultural role, and a sexually charged commodity to westerners. Through the presence of the natural and entirely delicate bird, Tal insists that the child retains a sense of innocence despite the opposing cultural claims, indicating that norms and values are inscribed onto children rather than naturally existing.
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-esque techniques in his work to layer photographs and painting in a contemporary and highly personal hybrid. Tal’s work focuses on exploring the nuances and ways of life of individuals existing within cultures outside of his own, and 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 acknowledgement and 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.