Quimetta Perle was born in Washington, DC to an artist and a poet. Her first exhibit was at the Washington Women’s Art Center in 1977. For over thirty-five years, she has been making art about women’s realities, which places her squarely in the feminist art movement. In the late 70’s-early 80’s, she was a member of the WARM (Women’s Art Registry of Minnesota) Gallery. While still a student at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, her work was chosen to be in a show at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. In 1984, she moved to New York City. She, has exhibited in solo shows at Soho 20, Brooklyn Central Library, Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, Lesley University in Cambridge, WARM Gallery and the Glen Hansen Gallery in Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota at St. Cloud, and has participated in numerous group shows including at Pratt Institute, the School of Visual Arts, SIGGRAPH, the Minnesota Museum, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, Bullet Space, Exit Art, Art in General and AIR. She was commissioned to create the performance Conversations with the Dead in 1987 for Franklin Furnace.
In the mid 90’s, she went back to school to earn her MFA in Computer Arts at the School of Visual Art in 1997. She produced “Things,” a pioneering interactive narrative on CD ROM. In 1999, the Women’s Studio Workshop awarded her a grant to produce Demon Slayer, an artist’s book, which she later performed at the Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe, Much of her work has gone back and forth between traditional women’s art forms, such as embroidery and beadwork, with the traditional fine art techniques of painting and drawing, interactivity, animation, imaging and video. In the mid 90’s-early 2000’s, she worked with jazz and spoken word artists, dancers and performance artists to create multi media works, which were performed at PS 122, Roulette and City College in NYC as well as The Green Room, Manchester, UK. Some of the artists she worked with include: Tyrone Henderson, David Bindman, Diedre Murray, Fred Hopkins, Neil Rolnick, Katherine Supove and Valeria Vasilevski. In 2000, the groundbreaking collaborative performance, The Technophobe and the Mad Man was performed simultaneously at NYU and Renssellaer Polytechnic Institute with streaming video and audio passing between the two sites. She taught digital arts and 4 Dimensional Design at Pratt Institute from 1998-2005.
Her work is subjective and narrative. She embeds video in her work as a way of telling more of the story, of being both still and moving, both decorative and technological, creating a synthesis of apparently opposite forms. Women are the central characters in her work; heroic and archetypal, trying to emerge from the background, lost in thought or consumed by fire. They may be mermaids, demon slayers, warrior goddesses or simply women looking inward or meeting the gaze of the viewer. Both process and materials are important, whether a piece is embroidered, painted or produced digitally.
When she is not working on her art, she is running an arts workshop program at HAI for people with mental disabilities throughout New York City, which includes a day long open studio program for artists with mental illness and a gallery, which exhibits self-taught and outsider artists.