On October 10, 2013, renowned international artist Drew Tal will have his opening reception for Worlds Apart at The Emmanuel Fremin Gallery from 6-8 p.m. in New York City. The show is scheduled to run from until December 14. Worlds Apart consists of a series of works that were especially designed for the Istanbul Biennial 2013 Art Show in Istanbul, Turkey. The Israeli-born artist was inspired by the famous Silk Road. Tal's previous works were heavily influenced by Asian inspirations; while this time around there is a strong tie to Muslim figures — and all concentrating on the human figure.
"Israel was a colorful collage of ethnicities from North Africa, South Asia and Eastern Europe, each with its own distinct characteristics, its specific culture, customs and costumes," recalls Tal. His fascination with faces has been present in his portfolio the last 10 years. The photographic art of Worlds Apart is separated into three sub-themes: Light from Within, Infallible Symmetry and Veil, Unveiled.
Light from Within features a series of portraits rendered in the chiaroscuro technique, putting the spotlight on the subject's eyes. "I am enchanted by eyes, and in this series, I highlight their shape, expression, depth and beauty. I focused the light predominantly on the subject's eyes and let the shadows fall on the rest," said Tal. "My intention is to grant the illuminated eyes an unspoken voice and let them tell their most intimate of stories."
The portraits of Infallible Symmetry are entirely covered by vegetal and geometric patterns (both Islamic and Indian), like an ornamental epidermis which resurfaces from the background to the human faces and to the veils surrounding them. This alludes to the prohibition of figurative elements in traditional Islamic art, but also to the secret geometry of the organic and inorganic universes. "The infinite symmetry found in these intricate patterns is considered to be divine. The result is a seamless union of the human and the divine, celebrating and complementing each other's essence," confesses Tal.
Veil, Unveiled is a compilation of images of women cloaked in the traditional "hijab" (veil) while praying, meditating, celebrating or protesting. It raises the controversial issue of the Islamic veil, without giving an answer to it. "In my art I do not critique the practice, as it is an integral element of my subject's identity and uniqueness," stated Tal. "I prefer to leave the purpose of the veil's presence up to the viewer's interpretation."
The scrutinizing Western eye can see so many things in the presence of the veil: a fashion accessory or adornment increasing the mystery of the eternal feminine, a sign of enforced law, a devout expression or a symbol of ethnic and religious identity in traditional Muslim society. Tal's striking work has been seen in both private and public museum collections, as well as major art fairs around the world. To attend the opening, learn more about Drew Tal and his work, contact Mary Nguyen.