Pieter Schoolwerth explores and experiments with the effects of generalized abstraction on representations of the human form in painting. Grounded in European paintings from the 16th to the 19th centuries, his works are complex compositions combining drawn, printed, and painted pictorial elements.Through his unique process, Schoolwerth traces and overlaps the contours of figures from premodern narrative tableaux to create permutations of a single hybridized time. His method reflects the destabilized process of identity construction in an age characterized by increasingly abstract social relations. Schoolwerth literalizes the formation, superimposition, and alienation of the contemporary body through the manipulation of multiple media and layers of material content.
The ‘Shifted Sims’-series, which the artist developed in late 2019, combines clean lines, thick impasto brush strokes and outlines of avatars - the Sims, protragonists of a strategic life-simulation computer game, where players construct their body and personality from the ground up to perform any identity and form of presence they desire. 3D copies are shifted off of the games’ screenshots, which result in a doubling effect of the avatar's silhouettes. 'The Sims' as timeworn digital environment prescient social media and living life from a distance.

The work cycle ‘Model as Painting’ is an attempt to conflate the shallowness of digital space with the shallowness of modernist relief sculpture, insisting on the presumably dematerialized digital space as being anchored in a materialist, analogue referent. Paint itself reappears only at the very end of a complex process involving other technologies of the image – such as photography, drawing, 3D modeling, and other image processing software – to mark and supplement the painting and finally output onto canvas.

Pieter Schoolwerth, born in 1970, received his BFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 1994. He lives and works in New York.

His work has been exhibited internationally in solo and group exhibitions at Kunstverein Hannover (2021, solo); Petzel Gallery, New York (2020, solo) Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin (2019, solo); the Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson (2018); Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York (2017, solo); Capitain Petzel, Berlin (2017, solo); theWhitney Museum of American Art, New York (2016); 356 Mission, Los Angeles (2015, solo); Gallery SKE,New Delhi (2014, solo); Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Brussels (2013, solo); the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2006); Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York (2005, solo); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2002); American Fine Arts, New York (2001, solo) and Greene Naftali Gallery, New York (1996, solo).

From 2003 to 2013, Schoolwerth ran Wierd Records and the Wierd Party at Home Sweet Home on the LES of New York. Wierd released music by 42 bands working in the genres of minimal electronics, coldwave and noise, and produced over 500 live music, dj, and performance art events internationally. His works are in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Denver Art Museum; the Orange County Museum of Art; the Phoenix Art Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Installation shots