Petra Cortright quack doctor violet "saltwater fish"
20 January - 4 March 2017
1301PE is pleased to announce quack doctor violet "saltwater fish", Petra Cortright's first solo exhibition at the gallery. The exhibition will feature a new series of digital paintings by the Los Angeles-based artist. At the core of Cortright's distinct artistic practice is the creation and distribution of digital files. Considered to be one of the early proponents of what some term 'post-Internet art', Cortright rose to prominence with such performative self-portrait YouTube videos as VVEBCAM, 2007, which she created using her computer's webcam and default special effect tools. This body of work has also evolved into an ongoing collaboration with fashion designer Stella McCartney, whereby webcam videos of Cortright posing in the designer's garments are circulated on social media and shown in stores worldwide.
In recent years, Cortright's practice has shifted towards the creation of digital paintings, using Adobe Photoshop and appropriated online source material to re-visit the genres of landscape, still life and abstract painting. Working in a laborious but intuitive multi-faceted process, Cortright mines the internet for images, patterns, marks, and color palettes to construct a new visual language. As the works in quack doctor violet "saltwater fish" articulate, Cortright has been particularly drawn to websites such as Pinterest. The material is then transformed into densely layered painterly compositions – at times presenting themselves as all-over paintings à la Abstract Expressionism, other times as fantastical landscapes or collage-like interior still lives. The resulting high-resolution Photoshop "mother file" gives rise to number of related works: from animated paintings (videos or Flash animations) that reveal their multi-layered process of creation, to two-dimensional paintings. Yet even when printed on aluminum, linen, rag paper, or acrylic substrates, the works continue to maintain evidence of their very digital making:
"All the physical pieces are unique, but there are deep elements of a digital process that I would never want to hide or remove—instead they are celebrated." – Petra Cortright
Whether in the form of videos, GIFs, Flash animations or printed two-dimensional objects, Cortright's works continuously exploit the archetypes and unconscious ways of seeing embedded in both contemporary visual culture by hacking its very visual vocabulary.
Petra Cortright (Santa Barbara, CA, 1986) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. She studied Fine Arts at Parsons School of Design, The New School, New York, NY (2008) and the California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA (2004). Cortright's work has been included in, amongst others, Electronic Superhighway, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2016); Brushes, New Museum, NY (online exhibition); The Metabolic Age, MALBA, Buenos Aires; NIKI, LUCY, LOLA, VIOLA, Depart Foundation, Los Angeles, CA; On YouTube. Kunst und Playlists aus 10 Jahren, Kunsthaus Langenthal, Switzerland (all 2015); Full of Peril and Weirdness: Painting as Universalism, M WOODS, Beijing (2014); Fútbol: The Beautiful Game, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (2014); Im Inneren der Stadt, Künstlerhaus Bremen (2014); Art Post-Internet, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Beijing (2014); 12th Bienniale de Lyon (2013); Beholder, Talbot Rice Gallery, University of Edinburgh (2011); New Wave, The Internet Pavilion, The 53rd Venice Biennial (2009).