Paintings by Petra Cortright

Paintings by Petra Cortright

Petra Cortright’s core practice is the creation and distribution of digital files, whether they be videos, GIFs, or jpegs, using consumer or corporate software and platforms. She has become renowned for making self-portrait videos that use her computer’s webcam and default effects tools, which she then uploaded to YouTube.

Cortright’s paintings on aluminum or acrylic are created in Photoshop using painting software and appropriated images, icons, and marks. The digital files are endlessly modifiable, but at a “decisive moment” they are translated into two-dimensional objects. They become finite, yet their range of motifs and marks, and their disorienting perspectives and dimensions suggest dynamic change.

Petra Cortright uses a range of mediums, both digital and analog, to explore the aesthetics and performative cultures of online consumption. She is particularly interested in video-sharing sites like Youtube: in vvebcam(2007), for example, Cortright recorded herself on a webcam passively scrolling through different effects on the recording device, while a repetitive trance beat played in the background. Despite the video reaching international viewership, Youtube removed it in 2011, due, the company said, to its excessive use of “offensive” language; Petra Cortright tagged the film with explicitly sexual language, a component which the artist considers part of the work. Espousing a rough home-video aesthetic, Cortright often records herself performing simple acts and gestures, such as kicking a football, tugging at a tree branch, or dancing around a bedroom. Her works, which frequently employ effects, filters, or computer graphics, highlight video memes and behaviors common to sites like Youtube.

Petra Cortright  lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. She has studied fine art at Parsons The School of Design, New York, NY (2008) and the California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA (2004).

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