Dreamcatchers

Not the least remarkable quality of Stephen Schofield's objects and enactments is the degree to which, as sculptures, they appear to lay bare processes and procedures which define, in a particularly unrelenting way, what we might think of as the delicate machinations of the corporeal. Equally absorbing is the power of their flight from entrapment by the figuration of language (discourse as crowbar). Breton's protestation and assurance in Nadja (1928), that he is interested "only in books left ajar, like doors, I will not go looking for keys", might be Stephen Schofield speaking.

Schofield's pumping eggs, for example, are assuredly sculptural glands which quicken the transformations of the world/body, buoyantly lifting and straining (or falling and pressing) against the resistance of the scrotumizing membranes that hold them (their sublunary pipe-supports as the dumb channels of this built-world, or a schematicizing of body conduits, running as banality between extraordinary egg-and-organ "events"). And yet how complacently, and with what olympian disdain, do they appear to resist the comforts of a metaphorical taming! His probing and mercurial rubber gloves, doubling and devouring themselves as metonymic surrogates for selfhood (emissaries from the dark kingdom of bodily interiority), nevertheless devolve continually from their lyric stance as players in body-drama, always reasserting themselves as the tweakings of materiality in space. Schofield's blunted and truncated silk-covered objects, tight (soaked in sugar-water), tumescent, nodal personages filled with sand or cement (sublime, roseate skin as the event-horizon which distracts and bewitches us away from the leakable, restless, sinister sift-in -an-hourglass malleability of their dense soft centers) are emblems of sculptural aloneness which, nevertheless, wait patiently to mock us if we come to them with sentimental offers of critically discursive escape from their formal isolation. His plaster-carved channels of river-bed circuit-boards are ruminative, self-absorbed, centripetal mappings of energies we can feel but cannot deflect into any sort of detachable, critically ameliorative imagery.

Stephen Schofield's sculptures are like André Breton's salt crystals-"nonperfectible by definition", but, paradoxically, assembled in aggregate as a house, eminently suitable for a sort of hectic, haptic, unreserved inhabitation: "I dream that all that might appear from far off like these cubes of rock salt look close up" (Mad Love, 1937). Schofield's sculptures are, in a sense, post-fetishized: they have been there, and they're back.

Gary Michael Dault

 

resume of the artist

 


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