Bridal Shower, 2013 | Courtesy the artist and Société, Berlin
Petra Cortright’s first video “vvebcam,” made in 2007, is known for just shortly preceding the cultural wave of “selfies.” In 2012, she began working with animated virtual strippers she found online.
Many of Cortright’s works here, are derived from a single Photoshop file composed of hundreds of layers of found images and marks made by custom digital brushes. Each digital layer is printed individually, hence producing a material depth not possible on a computer screen. Further, Cortright’s videos animate this file as if moving through its many layers. Both bodies of work convey a deep sense of space that is absent from the “original” file. Through long sessions of Internet browsing, in which endless image search results produce a feeling of hypnosis, Cortright’s production approaches a stream of consciousness. Her compositions include resonant symbols like roses – prevalent in both art historical iconography and teenage girl culture – alongside the aforementioned, outdated screensavers of dancing strippers. Intended for distracted PC users, these women are more one-dimensional than other images in Cortright’s vernacular, yet their blunt appropriation and re-contextualization suggest something darker, an uncanny inversion of their original intent.