Niki Lucy Lola Viola
"I mean; people have a really hard time respecting women. I'm just going to put that out there," (Petra Cortright July,2015)
What Petra Cortritght personally introduced is for her artwork called <Niki_Lucy_Lola_Viola>. (Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fHq3X-x2O0) This artwork showed five women who wearing colorful clothes were dancing. They also doing different interesting actions, and they showed expressions in digital conditions.
Petra Cortright is an artist who focuses on art mediums including net art, digital media and oil painting. Her artwork usually contains artistic elements, which has a significant impact upon people who look at her artwork. In addition, she specializes in the creation of digital art from material sourced from the internet using software and other internet tools. Her artworks adopt some of the common forms of Internet culture, which she manipulates through the addition of artistic elements. They include representational fragments, which are made using sampled clip art and imagery sourced from the internet, and abstract gestures that are made using customized paintbrush software. The artworks are mostly viewed online on her website or other online galleries. They can also be translated into two-dimensional art objects:
“In Petra's words, “generic dreamy, dream house mood boards, flowers people would like to have at their wedding, exotic travel landscapes, and cityscapes' inspire her world. Expressed through DIY technology, she likes making advanced look easy—all in a cup of shaved ice brightly colored with inspiration from nature, synthetic magic, high fashion, beauty, the future, and the past.” (Stacey Nishimoto Feb.2015)
According to journalist Nishimoto’s artist-review, Petra Cortright is the artist who makes her net art in different conditions, yet it still looked simple. However, the visual objects, elements and effects that Petra Cortright decided to use in her artwork, help to express her own inner emotions and deeply thoughts.
Catherine Wagley is an interviewer who got the information about the whole art installation of <Niki_Lucy_Lola_Viola>. From his interview, he commented many ideas that Petra Cortritght decided to use. Petra Cortritght considered carefully about placing projectors. She also used variable digital backgrounds for her film cutting. Thus the comparisons of the background colors which were be showed on different floor of the gallery would express different characteristics of the women:
“The show will include three videos in the main gallery in which virtual strippers are projected so that they are larger than life. A video of animated fireworks — which Cortright likes because they're celebratory but also such passive, predictable shapes — will play against a purple background between the main gallery and the second, upstairs one.” (Catherine Wagley July 8, 2015)
In fact, Petra Cortright considered to make her works with different visual in different layers, including multiple-color-background, powerful photography, and multiple-scenes. She thought different contents which point out the same idea that are exhibit on each floor, will be attractive and effective to the audience:
“Upstairs rooms will feature complicated, high-resolution "video paintings." Cortright made these in Photoshop, using hundred of layers to generate lush, abstract files; then, with the help of a video editor and animator, she added slow-moving flickers or swishes.” (Catherine Wagley July 8, 2015)
In Petra Cortright’s artwork <Niki_Lucy_Lola_Viola>, as she described, it points to Petra’s idea about some groups of women are ignored by most of people in US society. Petra thought that people in the society should pay more attention, and take care of this group of women.
This work incorporates footages of dancing women, animations and screensavers software, and images found online. The women, wearing colorful outfits dance and move on the screen while other images and screen savers change in the background (Depart Foundation, 2015). These changing backgrounds portray different environments where the strippers are situated. In one frame that is in the video, the women are dancing against a western landscape screensaver. In the background, there is a horse and an elephant that keep walking and some tumbleweed making some movements. In another frame, women are dressing against a green background (Cortright, 2015). This distortion of reality is what makes the art very appealing.
Moreover, one scene inside <Niki_Lucy_Lola_Viola> summarizes Petra Cortright’s central idea. This scene showed a woman falling down when the background video changed to the filming of a flying bird. That 10-second frame expressed her idea about the importance of the equality of identity that women should have. In addition, in the frame that women were dancing in the space of green background, and the women were dancing in the space of fireworks, brought audience strong visual satisfaction.
To create this work, Cortright takes advantage of the deceptive capability of digital media and interweaves that with some concepts of internet culture. Evidently, “The women are virtual strippers sourced from “Virtuagirl” (Mcgary, 2015). The incorporation of strippers alludes to the sexually charged element of internet culture. To distort reality, the strippers are placed on an editing board consisting of painterly landscapes and green screen voids. She then uses software to make the girls dance and move on the screen as she modifies the background with images, clip art, and animations sourced online. These modifications and distortions create highly unrealistic points of perspective, which appeal to internet-literate minds, who are the consumers of this kind of art.
This artwork shows Cortright’s focus on personal and issues in society. She uses her artistic talent to combine the internet and digital art with real life issues. “Niki, Lucy, Lola, Viola,” thus can be viewed as her way of expressing her ideals, while at the same time criticizing and humanizing the internet culture (Wagley, 2015). The original concept of the work was informed by feministic ideology. This feminist consciousness was awakened when she stumbled upon a program called “Virtuagirl” from where she got the strippers. This service sells virtual strippers to be used as screen savers. To her, this was disrespecting women, and she was deeply offended by it. Therefore, she made it her goal to promote respect for women through her art. Through this particular work, she subverts the original lewd intentions of the website. In fact, she says that her original thought was to save the women from being misused by seedy individuals (Mcgary, 2015)
<Niki_Lucy_Lola_Viola> is a representative work that was showing how personal life could relative to social problems and social identities. This work is also significant in that it calls attention to some commonly forgotten groups of people. Strippers, specifically, are generally ignored in the society. Cortright is, therefore, trying to call attention to them and humanize them in the eyes of the society and especially the internet-literate modern generation.
<Niki_Lucy_Lola_Viola> is also an artwork that not only reflects a real social phenomenon in today’s society, it also recall people’s attention to forgotten groups of people in today’s society.
Cortright’s work is comparable to the work of Mani Nasry (https://vimeo.com/16487473). Nasry is an artist who focuses on sculptures and spaces. Both of them are concerned with the way art can be made more effective with limited space. Petra constantly keep the idea of manipulating the shapes and sizes of her images to make them more effective. Nasry, also modifies his sculptures to fit within a particular space. However, their works use different mediums. Manny Nasry mainly consider to make the sculptures in his project with highly contrasted colors to make the shape and texture of his artwork stand out (Nasry, 2011). Petra, on the other hand, keep the idea of choosing internet tools and distorted camera angles to manipulate her work. Both work contains different ideas about how to well design the space for visual effects.
Her work also compares that of Dominic Harris. Both of their artworks employ different camera angles to make a visual impact. In Vanity Mirror (Video link: https://vimeo.com/140643885), Dominic Harris consider how hundreds of cameras as mirrors can make reflections of watchers’ faces. However, they are different in that Dominic Harris’s multiple lenses focused on people’s faces to bring out different angles (Cinimod Studios, 2015). Cortright, on the other hand, tends to get the most wonderful elements in single camera, whose view is distorted to bring out the different angles.
Overall the artwork-<Niki_Lucy_Lola_Viola>, it showed that Petra Cortright is an artist who concerned many details in our daily/social life, which normally people easily ignore. Also her artworks both focus on personal and social, which means she also concerned a lot about social problems, and something relative to women rights.
Due to the current technological advancements, the medium of self-expression has become the internet. Art too, has to change to accommodate these developments and reach out to the digital generation. Cortright’s work, therefore, appears to be an attempt to fuse the world of art with the digital world.
This work has been featured in various exhibitions. The most recent exhibition was Petra Cortright: Niki, Lucy, Lola, Viola, Depart Foundation, Los Angeles (2015). It also featured at Petra Cortright, Foxy Production, New York, NY (2015). The original concept of the work debuted at Vicky Deep In Spring Valley, Club Midnight, Berlin, Germany (2012)
Petra Cortright’s works list:
Niki_Lucy_Lola_Viola July 2015 Alhambra Studio
Virtual #adidasStellaSport world… 2015 Petra Cortright’s Studio
15_independentBUICKS.$$$ 2015 Foxy Production
SpringValle_ber_girls 2012 MALBA
all_gold_everything 2015 Foxy Production
i feel u 2015 Foxy Production
mainbitch 2012 Anat Ebgi
Cinimod Studios. (2015). Vanity Mirror by Dominic Harris. [Video File]. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/140643885
Cortright, P. (2015) Niki,Lucy,Lola,Viola.[Jpg] Retrieved from http://images1.laweekly.com/imager/u/original/5775622/nikkilucylolaviola2.jpg
Depart Foundation. (2015, July 23). Petra Cortright's Niki,Lucy,Lola,Viola at Depart Foundation[VideoFile]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fHq3X-x2O0
Mccgary, K. (2015, July, Thursday 8). Petra Cortright Desktop Dolls. New York Times. Retrieved from http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/09/petra-cortright-desktop-dolls/?_r=0
Nasry, M. (2011). Many Nasry Art Installations. [Video File]. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/16487473
Wagley, C. (2015, July, Wednesday 8). Petra Contright is Merging Art and the Internet-Using Virtual Strippers. LA Weekly. Retrieved from http://www.laweekly.com/arts/petra-cortright-is-merging-art-and-the-internet-using-virtual-strippers-5775063