At once abstract and representational, the video articulates Perry’s stated interest in the possibility of abstraction as a way of creating dimensionality and autonomy for marginalized bodies. At the same time, the silhouetted body of a black woman is reminiscent of the work of Kara Walker, one of Perry’s most important influences, as well as historical works of art and cinema that explore, if not objectify, the female body as “landscape.” In contrast, Perry’s Black Girl as a Landscape concludes with a close-up of the performer’s eye—a digital iridescent white against the black of her face—that addresses and challenges the look of the viewer and camera.
Sondra Perry (American, born. 1986) is an interdisciplinary artist whose works in video, computer-based media, and performance explore what Perry calls the “slippages of identity” that define subjective experience in the digital world. Perry investigates themes of power and agency, especially as they are determined by race and gender identities. Embracing and integrating new digital platforms for installation and context-based artworks, the artist puts these questions of identity in conversation with contemporary articulations and embodiments of desire, materiality, labor, and history. Perry’s works are both highly political and acutely familiar with colloquial experiences of digital interfaces. Her recent group exhibitions include Greater New York, MoMA PS1 (thru March 7); A Constellation, the Studio Museum in Harlem (thru March 6); Disguise: Masks and Global African Art, Fowler Muesum, UCLA (thru 3/16) which originated at the Seattle Art Museum. The show will travel to the Brooklyn Museum April 22. Perry holds an MFA from a school in Harlem and a BFA from Alfred University. Perry is currently based in Houston, Texas as part of the artist-in-residence program CORE at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.