Petra Cortright’s computer-based practice pioneered a new kind of internet art. The archival impulse behind her work stresses the visual catchiness and mutability of the digital image, as well as the delicate and self-conscious act of putting oneself ‘online’. As an artist who ‘grew up on the internet’, Cortright carefully erects and investigates online trends of personhood as they appear in the culture, from the front-facing camera antics of solipsistic young girls on social media to virtual strippers.
In ‘Pink_Para_1stchoice’ (2013), Cortright performs a fragmented self-portrait, playing with the relationship between the computer screen and voyeurism, and the Internet’s effect on how we perceive subjectivity. The artist watches herself in the computer screen while singing along to a song we cannot hear. Through the webcam, Cortright presents herself as both subject and object, independent of any male or female gaze.
Recently exhibited in physical spaces such as Times Square, New York (2019) and UTA Artist Space, Los Angeles (2018), the work is on loan at ATISMIC’s online exhibition ‘Time and Space’ from Petra Cortright Studios. With public screenings in different contexts, this work has become an ever-changing statement about the way women engage with the propagation of images on the Internet.
PETRA CORTRIGHT (b. 1986, Santa Barbara, CA) is a contemporary artist whose multifaceted artistic practice stems from creating and manipulating digital files. Cortright’s digitally-conceived artworks physically exist in many forms - printed onto archival surfaces, projected onto existing architecture, etc. A notable member of what became known as the ‘Post Internet’ art movement of the mid-to-late-2000s with her YouTube videos and online exhibitions, Cortright later began to laboriously craft digital paintings by creating layer upon layer of manipulated images in Photoshop which she then rendered onto materials such as aluminum, linen, paper, and acrylic sheets. Cortright’s role as an artist is a blend of painter, graphic designer, editor, and producer; culminating in a singular artistic reflection of contemporary visual culture.