The core practice of Petra Cortright (born 1986 in Santa Barbara, California, lives and works in Los Angeles) is the creation and distribution of digital files, whether they be videos, GIFs, or JPEGs, using consumer or corporate software and platforms. She is most well known for her webcam videos: “selfie” inspired digital portraits that are equal parts performance and documentary. These, and her current works, embody the peripatetic anxiety of a culture raised with virtual modalities of self-expression, while also humanizing the impoverishment of these digital ruins with intelligence and play. 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.
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Niki, Lucy, Lola, Viola collects screenshots of a desktop-performance made by Petra Cortright where virtual erotic dancers perform on various backgrounds. As a result, the pages of the book look like continuous digital collages; synthetic and painterly landscapes populated by the strippers posing for the viewer.