SEATTLE, WA – The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) announced today the selection of video installation and performance artist Sondra Perry as the winner of the 2017 Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Prize. Major funding for the prize is provided by the Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation. Perry will receive a $10,000 award to further her artistic practice, and her work will be featured in a solo exhibition in SAM’s Gwendolyn Knight & Jacob Lawrence Gallery in fall 2017.
Awarded bi-annually to an early career black artist who has been producing work for less than 10 years, the Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Prize has previously been awarded to Titus Kaphar (2009), Theaster Gates (2011), LaToya Ruby Frazier (2013), and Brenna Youngblood (2015). The past winners’ work ranges across many genres; Perry is the first video artist to be awarded the prize.
Perry’s work explores abstraction and representation through video and computer-based media installations and performance. She often uses video production tools like blue screens and chroma keys, 3D avatars and computer graphics software, workplace wellness tools, and media publicly shared on the internet to question constructions of representation and propose different ways of seeing.
A New Jersey-based artist, Perry has already made a mark in Seattle. Her video Double Quadruple Etcetera Etcetera opened SAM’s exhibition Disguise: Masks and Global African Art (June 18–September 7, 2015). The exhibition then traveled to the Fowler Museum at UCLA (October 18, 2015–March 13, 2016) and the Brooklyn Museum (April 29–September 18, 2016). In addition, Perry’s first solo show, Some Type Of Way, was held at independent gallery INCA in Seattle (October 30–November 19, 2015); her first institutional solo show, Resident Evil, recently appeared at The Kitchen in New York, NY (November 2–December 10, 2016).
Perry’s fall 2017 solo exhibition at SAM will be curated by Sandra Jackson-Dumont, Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Chairman of Education at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and SAM’s former Deputy Director for Education and Public Programs/Adjunct Curator in Modern and Contemporary Art.
"Sondra’s work is at once subversively witty, concretely inventive, and above all, timely,” says Jackson-Dumont. “I am mesmerized by her uncanny use of performance and digital platforms to create meaning and comment on black experiences in particular and societal issues overall. I could not be more thrilled to work with this exceptional artist.”