Pieter Schoolwerth, Shifted Sims #14 (Luxury Party Stuff), 2020, Oil, acrylic, inkjet on canvas, 80 x 112 inches, 203.2 x 284.5 cm
Pieter Schoolwerth, Shifted Sims #15 (Tiny Living), 2020,Oil, acrylic, inkjet on canvas, 85 x 120 inches, 215.9 x 304.8 cm
I completely missed this remarkable show in 2020 at Petzel Gallery (456 West 18th Street New York, NY 10011) amidst the chaos: Pieter Schoolwerth's Shifted Sims, a fascinating take on simulation, hereby exemplified by The Sims, through the medium of painting, made during the pandemic... Basically, "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma".
As curator Lucy Hunter writes:
Schoolwerth’s psychoactive tableaus depict CGI avatars let loose in the digital froth: a Baywatch-y beach, a fashion-brand showroom, a furry orgy. He pulls these scenes from screenshots of The Sims 4, the strategic life-simulation computer game where anything goes—or does it? Trailing every avatar is an estranged silhouetted double, snapped into existence by the “shift” of Shifted Sims. Each composition has been superimposed, askew, over the photograph of a handmade 3D relief sculpture of the image. What appears is a shadow realm of vestigial matter, yanked into view on inkjet-printed canvases and parceled in paint. (Lucy Hunter, Petzel Gallery)
In the video below, artist Pieter Schoolwerth describes the origin of the project, dwelling on the notion of masks, avatars, and performances:
Pieter Schoolwerth (b. 1970, St. Louis, MO) lives and works in New York. Since graduating from the California Institute of the Arts in 1994, he has exhibited internationally with notable solo shows at Thread Waxing Space; Greene Naftali; American Fine Arts Co.; Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York; Gallery SKE, New Delhi; What Pipeline, Detroit; Capitain Petzel, Berlin; Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin. His work has been included in group exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Sadie Coles, London; 303 Gallery; Gavin Brown’s enterprise and Petzel Gallery, New York.
LINK: Pieter Schoolwerth (All images and videos, courtesy of Petzel Gallery)