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Sweat Drawings, Ri Anderson
Photographic Gallery SMA

October 29, 2023

Ri (Raina) Anderson believes in making rather than taking pictures, in creating fiction fused with fact. Her multi-layered, semi-autobiographical work straddles the line between recognition and implausibility in compositions that suspend a sense of reality. Whether her images are comprised of single photographs or many collaged together, they are all believable in the way dreams are: irrational but emotionally potent.

Born in and raised throughout the northeastern US, transplanted in central Mexico, a member of an aerial circus troupe and mother of teenage girls, Anderson's eclectic background and interests have influenced the development of her unconventional use of the photographic medium. Early in her career Anderson made use of medium and large format analogue cameras, and later her style evolved to the use of digital point and shoots as instruments for obtaining photographic data which she masterfully transforms into complex, surreal compositions through intricate digital manipulation.

In her series "Sweat Drawings" Anderson photographs sweat imprints on the dance floor in the facility where she trains for aerial arts. She is fascinated by the forms created by sweat on the body that gets left behind, for a moment before it evaporates, on the floor scuffed by choreographed movements of the troupe members' practice. The imprints speak both to the marks from and excretions of our physical bodies pushed to the extreme, as well as to the nature of photography: what we see has already transpired, and is gone. Reminiscent of Greek statue remains, these works refer to the preciousness of ancient and contemporary ideals of beauty and athleticism, as well as to their fleeting nature. The elements of imperfections -- scratches and dust in the backgrounds -- as well as the negative impressions where highlights and shadows are reversed, are a nod to the analogue black and white darkroom work of Anderson's early career.

Anderson received her MFA from Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, MA. She is a long time resident of San Miguel de Allende and works as a master digital printer, as well as a designer of collections of wallpapers, lampshades, and accessories. She has been an active member of the aerial circus troupe Gravityworks since 2008. She has exhibited in over 60 solo and group exhibitions throughout the US, Mexico and China, and has been published in the US, Mexico, Australia, the UK and more. Her works are in the permanent collections of Berkeley Art Museum, CA and DeCordova Museum, MA.

Ri Anderson's work can be seen at the Photographic Gallery in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and online at:


Sweat Drawings, Ri Anderson
Saturday, October 28, 11am-5pm
Photographic Gallery SMA, Mesones 57

Dear friends,
I cordially invite you to the opening reception of my solo show at the Photographic Gallery SMA this Saturday. I am proud to be showing work from an ongoing series entitled "Sweat Drawings." This body of work is based on physical sweat imprints from the bodies of aerialists. As a long time member of the circus troupe Gravityworks, I merged my love of aerial dance with my love of photography. All of the works in this exhibition have been reworked and newly printed. I will also have a small selection of newly created works that I have just begun. I hope to see you there.
Thanks, Ri


Ri (Raina) Anderson


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