Petra Cortright Santa Barbara, CA, b. 1986


Petra Cortright (b. 1986, Santa Barbara, CA) is an American digital painter based in Los Angeles. She studied Fine Arts at Parsons School of Design, The New School, New York (2008) and the California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA (2004).


Petra Cortright’s core practice is the creation and distribution of digital and physical images using consumer or corporate software. She became renowned for making self-portrait videos that use her computer’s webcam and default effects tools, which she would then upload to YouTube and caption with spam text. Cortright’s paintings on aluminum, linen, paper, 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 a dynamic change.


Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Doota Plaza, Seoul; LIMA, Amsterdam; UTA Artist Space, Los Angeles; University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh; and Depart Foundation, Los Angeles. She has also participated in numerous group exhibitions at international venues including the MoMA New York; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Ludwig Museum, Budapest; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; KM – Halle für Kunst & Medien, Graz; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Kunsthaus Langenthal, Langenthal; New Museum, New York; 12th Biennale de Lyon, Lyon; and SJ01 Biennial, San Jose.