Mike Perry’s photographs examine the interactions of landscapes, nature and industrial society. His practice focuses on Britain’s national parks, and increasingly the immediate surroundings of Pembrokeshire where he lives and works, questioning the romantic mythology of national parks as areas of wilderness and natural beauty. He uses large format photography to simultaneously capture the painterly tones and aesthetic qualities of the landscape’s surface, while detailing the impacts of humanity’s exploitation of nature for commercial gains. His series of smaller photographs show objects found in the landscape at 1:1 scale, capturing the effect of natural processes on the surfaces of industrially produced materials. In these images the objects become poignant symbols of the entanglement – both literal and metaphorical – of human consumption, waste and nature.
Among the many artists documenting ecological collapse, Perry’s work is distinct in the hyperlocal and apparently mundane nature of his subjects. Rather than epic, aerial vistas of glaciers or oil fields, Perry directs his and our attention to the overlooked hedgerow or the shell-incrusted flip-flop. The drama of these micro-studies are nonetheless global, holding a tension between their extraordinary aesthetic beauty and the damage inflicted upon nature by human activity.
Perry’s work has exhibited at National Museum Wales’s New Ground : Landscape Art in Wales since 1970, (2012) and Art and The Material Landscape (2016), at The Royal Academy of Arts exhibition The Black and White Room (2014) and Art Made Now (2018), at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015) and at the exhibition Found, curated by artist Cornelia Parker at The Foundling Museum (2016). In 2017, he was included in the British Arts Council Collection exhibition British Landscape and The Imagination at Towner Art Gallery and his solo exhibition Land/Sea received Arts Council Wales touring funds and travelled between Plymouth Arts Centre, Ffotogallery, Mostyn and Aberystwyth Arts Centre during 2017-18 and at Thelma Hulbert Gallery and National Museum Wales’s Oriel y Parc in 2021. Perry was awarded a Creative Wales Award in 2015 and represented Wales at the 2018 Interceltique Arts Festival in Lorient, France. Perry was invited to the first Tipping Point symposium on climate change between leading scientists and artists at Oxford University and in 2015 presented to the Treasury on climate change action with economist Nicholas Stern and artists Antony Gormley and Cornelia Parker.