David Drebin’s Glamorous “Photo Sculptures” Explore Voyeurism and the Female Form

Apr 19, 2016 5:28PM
Teardrop, 2015
Contessa Gallery

At Contessa Gallery in Cleveland, multidisciplinary artist David Drebin offers a new series in glass and resin—what he’s calling “photo sculptures.” Unlike previous series, this body of work focuses more on the human form rather than the environments and citsyscapes we inhabit. Nevertheless, Drebin’s meticulously detailed work continues to be alluringly cinematic.

His previous solo shows at Contessa Gallery featured provocative photos of superlatively glamorous women in urban tableaux (also vital to his practice are neon sculptures and panoramic views of cosmopolises). This new series transforms those photographed femme fatales into standalone sculptures, each in a limited edition of six.

Photographing Herself, 2016
Contessa Gallery

These dramatic photo sculptures represent crystallized ideas about form rather than the expansive atmospheres that dominate his photography. For instance, in Photographing Herself (2016), Drebin explores layers of voyeurism: The viewer looks at the subject—a porcelain-like female figure encased in a transparent glass box—as she snaps selfies and gazes at herself in a three-paneled mirror. Depending on the viewer’s vantage point, different angles and figurative details are revealed. Drebin is highly attentive to surface as well, rendering the folds and flaps of clothing to suggest the speed with which the woman moves through space as light bathes the scene.

Falling in Love, 2015
Contessa Gallery

In Falling In Love (2015), Drebin straightforwardly interprets the titular expression by arranging three red women cascading downward in a clear, heart-shaped case. Similarly, in Teardrop (2015), a female subject is suspended within a clear, tear-shaped case. Its transparency allows the piece to commune with any environment, giving it new life in a new space.

—Anna Furman

David Drebin’s work is on view at Contessa Gallery, Cleveland.

See more artists from Contessa Gallery on Artsy.