Matthew Schofield
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Adaptation and motivation

Recent work   The art works presented in Adaptation and motivation are Matthew Schofield's 'still life paintings' of snapshots and photo-books created by the autodidactic photographers in his family. Schofield acts as a curator of souvenirs, choosing to paint un-composed imagery from the viewpoint of the photographer and/or from the vantage point of the scrap booker.

Schofield examines the experimentation of the amateur by choosing to focus on the idiosyncrasies of the inexperienced documenter. Adaptation and motivation is the exploration through paint of representational photo imagery from three individuals' archives. These paintings are based on the photos and scrapbooks created by the family documenters: grandparents and parents. These original photographers are not involved in the explanation of the significance of their snapshots and therefore the full interpretation of their meaning is left to Schofield and the audience. The subtle nuances of each of the photographer's style becomes apparent with the accumulation of imagery. The commonalities and regularities of the photographer's perception, experience and reaction create constants that emerge through repeated stylistic signature areas of interest in the photograph.

Furthering this complicated nature of idiosyncratic tendencies is the placement of images in the scrap book by the amateur archivist. The singular nature of the snapshot has context when placed amongst other imagery in a book and is transformed from a series of non sequiturs into a narrative affording a comprehensive perspective of its creator.

Schofield's contribution to these ready-made compositions is one of unreliable narrator invading the privacy of the photographer. The act of painting alters the imagery from its simple record of reality by omission of details, altering the focus of the image and the mood or gesture of the characters. The likeness to the original photograph depends on the way something is considered, weighed and extracted. These alterations hint at the nature of selective memory where the snapshot itself has no real significance other than the psychological connection the photographer has with the image as a symbol of past experience. Without the photographer's input, the object's meaning is interpreted by the artist (and ultimately the audience through him).


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