LA artist Petra Cortright gives analogue painting a digital upgrade. Her paintings are made entirely in Photoshop, using images, filters, and effects appropriated from Pinterest, Google Images, and other image-generating web sites. She breaks down and reintegrates this amassed material into a virtual palette of tones and textures with which she paints densely-layered, slowly-morphing abstractions. Her paintings exist as digital files, which are distributed and presented in virtual and/or physical form. They are both screen and gallery ready.

This exhibition brings together Cortright’s various takes on painting. It features a suite of digital paintings exported onto linen and paper, and a ‘live’ animated painting with a running time of 16 minutes. This painting meditatively scrolls through its constitutive layers, making and unmaking itself before our eyes. Her two modes—static and fluid—are different iterations of the same painting process. Neither involves brushes or paint. 

Cortright also makes YouTube-hosted videos where her spontaneous performances to webcam are augmented through live-editing effects and filters. In our selection, Cortright plays at being a painter, stuck in the studio.

A new series of Flash-animation videos take on the possibilities of painting more irreverently. Squawking and chirping digital wildlife journey through painted worlds made up of gestural brushstrokes and lush fields of colour. The serious forms and languages of painting are mashed with the kitschy aesthetics of the screensaver. Painting is teeming with new life.

This is the first exhibition of Cortright’s work in New Zealand, and is a partnership with Tristian Koenig, Melbourne.

City Gallery Wellington, 8 April–13 August 2017
In assocation with Tristian Koenig, Melbourne