In the third instalment of our #HereForU initiative we take a look at the work of Pieter Schoolwerth and Hunter Potter. In support of the artists and creatives that will be critically affected by this crisis, our #HereforU initiative uses our Instagram platform to promote artists that are recommended by U, our audience. If you would like to propose anyone, please visit our Instagram page and send us a DM with the username of the artist you would like us to support.
Pieter Schoolwerth’s work engages in a direct dialogue with art history, he believes in using elements from past paintings as a kind of raw material in which he can ground his practice. After initially creating surrealist figures, Schoolwerth’s attention shifted to Old Master paintings made between the 16th and 18th Century; he would scramble these compositions, taking figures, still life objects, or landscape elements, and superimpose them onto his canvas to create one hybrid mass. His sources have included works by Pieter Breugel, Abraham Bloemaert, Thomas Cole, Dosso Dossi, Jacob van Ruisadel, and Eugene Delacroix.
Now Schoolwerth is focusing on his ‘in the last instance’ series: in these paintings the paint is applied last, as a final flourish after the composition has been fully realised by the use of other alternative media such as photography, drawing, 3D wood modeling, and digital image processing. The results are joyous explorations of form, texture and colour.
“I’ve long been interested in how the ever-changing forces of abstraction in the world affects the task of representing the human body. This ongoing investigation has caused me to think about how one forms an idea of another’s bodily presence, and how to represent the compression of space and time that is such a part of communicating today.”
Pieter Schoolwerth (b. 1970) received his BFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 1994. He now lives and works in New York.
Compromised Personality Inventory, 2019, Oil, acrylic, inkjet print on canvas, 178 x 147 cm
Personality Settings Retraction, 2019, Oil, acrylic, inkjet print on canvas, 173 x 147 cm
Hunter Potter is interested in the fatalistic undercurrent behind painterly mark-making: of all the marks he could have made, why these ones? Why this particular narrative and distortion of space? His pieces are fragmented, begging for close analysis on a localised scale, before the viewer stands back and considers the work in its entirety. There is a recurrent juxtaposition of style, technique and medium, as well as the abandonment of perspective, scale and focus, that makes this task more palatable. Each section of a Potter painting is a small window onto the artist’s soul, each mark from an aerosol can, paint roller, spatula, and collage come together, like sentences forming a paragraph, to create a narrative that could never have differed from what it eventually became.
Potter is heavily influenced by his upbringing in small-town America: he mines his formative memories for images and experiences that embody a kind of substrate cultural feeling – his works channel Stenbeck’s prose and Grant Wood’s painting, a love-letter to the American idyll and the characters that animate it.
“I paint to pay homage to the characters and lifestyles for which I yearn. Though the paintings are undeniably exaggerated and fantastical, they are a direct result of the small-town, blue-collar, Americana environment in which I grew up and continue to remain so strongly connected to. Similar to the folklore that is passed around such settings, the paintings are neither past nor present, fact nor fiction, right nor wrong, but more so a combination of it all.”
Born in 1990 in Syracuse, NY, Hunter Potter studied studio art at the University of Vermont where he graduated in 2013. He moved to New York City in 2015 and spent time commercial sign painting before establishing his studio in Brooklyn.
Two Faces Two Cases, 2019, Acrylic and oil stick on canvas
Hey Big Fella, 2019, Acrylic and oil stick on canvas