Born 1970 in St. Louis, MO
Lives and works in New York
Pieter Schoolwerth explores and experiments with the effects of generalized abstraction on representations of the human form in painting. His works are complex compositions combining drawn, printed, painted pictorial elements and computer generated imagery. 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.
His elaborate production process combines sculpture, photography and painting and moves between digital and handmade modes. Photographs of live models and objects form the compositional base of his work. From these photographs, Schoolwerth creates hand-cut three-dimensional foam-core models, only for these assembled scenes to be photographed again and digitally manipulated and edited. This image is printed onto canvas and finally, painted over with oil pigments, adding details and texture. The end product is a dazzling, multidimensional scene, at once playful but also profoundly disorienting and illusory. The artist uses the term ‘reverse cubism’ to describe his work: a way of representing multiple objects from a single point in time, and again an analogy for the simultaneity and fast-paced movement of the digital age.
Pieter Schoolwerth received his BFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 1994 and has since then been active across several artistic mediums including film, music, photography, painting and sculpture. In 2021 he had a solo exhibition at the Kunstverein Hannover, Germany. Schoolwerth has shown at many other institutions, among others at FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, Whitney Museum of American Art and Museum of Modern Art, both in New York, Armory Art Center, West Palm Beach and Centre Pompidou, Paris. His work can also be found in the public collections of the Pinault Collection, Denver Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Orange County Museum of Art, and the Phoenix Art Museum.
Schoolwerth also founded the label Wierd Records in 2006, which released music across the genres and also strongly influenced the New York club scene of the time through music events such as the weekly Wierd Party. Schoolwerth's artistic practice has therefore always been about the possibilities of figurative painting as well as those of music and performance.