Petra Cortright’s core practice is the creation and distribution of digital and physical images using consumer or corporate softwares. 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 dynamic change. Cortright 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 has exhibited at institutions including Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Beijing, Lab for Emerging Arts and Performance (LEAP), Berlin, CCA: The Center of Contemporary Arts, Sante Fe, New Mexico, Espai Cultural Caja Madrid, Barcelona, and the Chelsea Art Museum, New York,Museum de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), Argentina, Kunsthaus Langenthal, Switzerland, Kunstlerhaus Bremen, Germany, MCA Chicago, Illinois, Walker Art Center, Minnesota, among many other international gallery exhibitions. She has released several publications and has participated in online exhibitions including televised broadcasts for MOCA, Los Angeles, and Frieze Art Fair, London. Cortright participated in the 10th Biennale de Lyon and the Venice Biennale’s Internet Pavilion in 2009, and The New York Underground Film Festival in New York in 2008. In 2015 she was awarded Rhizome’s Future-Proof award with Paul Chan & Badlands Unlimited.