PALM SPRINGS, CA (Aug. 20, 2022) The work of Petra Cortright, a leading figure in what is sometimes referred to as the “Post-Internet Art” movement, will be exhibited this fall at Palm Springs Art Museum. Petra Cortright: sapphire cinnamon viper fairy will run from Sep. 29, 2022 – Mar. 26, 2023.
Cortright makes art in genres such as landscape and portraiture by using tools, sources, formats, and platforms native to the age of the internet and digital technology. During the early 2000s, she captured the attention of the art world with a series of self-portrait videos that demonstrated unconventional uses of standard special effects. She also makes digital paintings printed on aluminum, linen, and paper. These paintings evoke the work of the Impressionists and other plein air painters, but Cortright sources her imagery online, using the internet as a stand-in for nature. These works, nonetheless, exert a powerful physical presence.
“I’m so excited that we are presenting the work of this trailblazing artist,” says Adam Lerner, the museum’s JoAnn McGrath Executive Director/CEO. “Petra works with traditional subject matter— landscapes, flowers, still life—but uses a unique set of techniques she developed to create incredibly dense and layered digital works. The final files—which can be massive—are extraordinarily dynamic in both their digital forms and when printed on various materials. Making paintings with her computer, she is at the forefront of a practice that will likely be the mainstream of art-making one day, and we’re thrilled to be able to share these beautiful works with our community and visitors.”
Cortright, the daughter of two artists, grew up in California and studied at California College of the Arts in San Francisco and Parsons School for Design in New York. Because of an early interest in computers, she initially intended to pursue a career in graphic design but felt the pull of fine art. She says, “I am a painter, but I don’t work with paint, and there was very little precedent for painting being done on computers. The only outlet I really had was the internet. I liked using video in a painterly way to see how I could make the live effects feel like brushstrokes. I posted them online because there was nowhere else to put them. That’s how people got to know the work.”
After her video works took off on YouTube, Cortright was selected to participate in the Frieze Art Fair in London and created an acclaimed video self-portrait. She has also collaborated with fashion designer Stella McCartney by using video to showcase and contrast patterns from the garments designed by McCartney. Cortright’s works have been in exhibitions at the New Museum in New York, the Venice Biennale, and the 01SJ Biennial. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art New York, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Hammer Museum, and MOCA Los Angeles. Petra Cortright: sapphire cinnamon viper fairy is the artist’s first museum solo show in the United States.
This season’s exhibitions are sponsored by the Herman & Faye Sarkowsky Charitable Foundation and Yvonne & Steve (in memoriam) Maloney.