In the series Rough Beauty, Dave Anderson portrays the rural town of Vidor, Texas, and explores the character of a community branded with a reputation as one of the most racist places in America. Infamous for its longtime involvement with the Klan, Vidor is also plagued by chronic poverty and unemployment rates reminiscent of the Depression era.
While the town's volatile reputation is what initially compelled Anderson to make pictures there, the resulting black and white images are filled with emotional tensions that belie easy stereotyping. In a confrontational style reminiscent of Diane Arbus, Anderson addresses the issues of racism and poverty while maintaining a subtle empathy with his hard luck subjects. The resulting portraits are intense, provocative and difficult to forget.
Director, Yossi Milo Gallery,
New York, NY
All of my life I've been sneaking into places I don't belong. As a child, I'd dive into the furthest reaches of the family attic to see what ancient items had been passed down and then forgotten. This lifelong urge finally propelled me into photography. With a camera in hand, I at last had license to explore the many wonderful, forgotten corners of people's lives and the landscape that surrounds us. There is so much beauty in the overlooked details of our world. I love the spare grace of decay, the splendor of the mundane, and the strange majesty of isolation. The camera offers me passage into these worlds and the truth is I just can't stop exploring.
A former television producer in the Clinton White House and at MTV, Dave Anderson takes photographs that cast a wistful eye on the people, places, and objects occupying the landscape. His spare, otherworldly black and white images project a kind of isolated romanticism. His work has appeared in publications and exhibitions all over the world, and is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts; and the University of Louisville Photographic Archive, Kentucky. Anderson’s work is also in the private collection of fashion designer Todd Oldham as well as the collections of W. M. Hunt/Collection Dancing Bear and Houstonians James Edward Maloney and Ed Osowski.
Anderson’s first solo show was organized by curator Clint Willour and opened in October 2004 at the Galveston Arts Center, Texas. He is represented by Yossi Milo Gallery, New York; Halsted Gallery, Birmingham, Alabama; Vicki Bassetti Gallery, New Orleans; Watermark Fine Art Photography, Houston; Candace Perich Gallery, Ketonah, New York; and Susan Spiritus Gallery, Newport Beach, California.
Anderson is a native of East Lansing, Michigan and resident of New York. He is also a published writer, with a story entitled “A Failed Execution” in Paul Auster's best-selling anthology of nonfiction I Thought My Father Was God: And Other True Tales from NPR’s National Story Project (New York: Henry Holt, 2001).