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Blood of My Blood

By Nicole Findlay

An angelic child in a Mexican pink dress gazes serenely outward while offering up another child’s head on a silver platter. Artist Ri Anderson’s image Sibling Rivalry is as arresting and disturbing as Lucas Cranach the Elder’s original painting St John the Baptist and Salome, upon which it is based.

By Ri Anderson
Sangre de Mi Sangre
Thu, Apr 30, 7-9pm
Bellas Artes Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramirez
“El Nigromante”
Hernández Macías 75

Anderson’s beautiful and thought-provoking images will comprise a solo exhibit, Sangre de Mi Sangre, at Bellas Artes. “The title translates as blood of my blood literally but it also alludes to family and offspring and has a biblical reference too,” said Anderson. “My work is about the physical and emotional connections between my daughters and me.”

Anderson, an American, found her work transformed after moving to Mexico a decade ago. She describes her influences as a “crazy mixture of my history in Boston with its Victorian roots and my family’s current life in central Mexico with its colorful Catholicism.”

Much of her photography recasts images of herself with her two daughters, Lola and Lucy, as biblical figures from historical paintings. Other works inspired by biblical scenes include Pieta, the Virgin Chastises Christ, Santa Teresa, and Assumption.

Another series, Mexican Parlor Games, reimagines old-English society’s Victorian parlor games. “Families rummaged through belongings to dress up and pantomime famous figures, often biblical or literary.” Her daughters have found a rich treasure trove of costumes in Mexico’s markets.

Other work is less easily deciphered. One 108×108-inch digitally manipulated photograph comprising nine panels initially appears to be falling snow or a meteor shower. Orbit (Fallen Teeth) actually depicts her daughters’ lost baby teeth. Hair, feathers, and even an umbilical cord are photographed and “digitally embroidered” to be reconfigured as abstract, large format images resembling Rorschach ink blots.

“Though I have never knitted, I feel like my digital embroidery is akin to traditional female handicraft. It is meditative, soothing, and repetitive,” Anderson said. “I have made a series of butterflies from our hair and a series of feather paintings based on Mexican arte plumario, feather paintings in which I scanned a hummingbird and Photoshopped the individual feathers over photographs of my girls.”

Sangre de Mi Sangre will open at Bellas Artes—Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramirez “El Nigromante” on April 30 and run until July 26.

Anderson has an MFA from Mass College of Art. She has worked as a freelance photographer, taught in museums, universities, and photography centers, and exhibited her work in both museums and galleries in Canada, the US, and Mexico.


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