Liz Clayton Scofield: The play’s the thing

Exhibition Dates (extended)
August 7 – September 30, 2021,

First Saturday Opening Reception on August 7, 5-7pm

What story does the body tell? Could there be new ways of being within a body?

In Liz Clayton Scofield’s solo exhibition, The play’s the thing, the artist utilizes the convention of a staged “play” to explore the ways in which identity can be viewed as a performance, and through an active relationship between sculpture and video, they have designed a DIY guide on social constructions related to living in a queer body.

The works included in this exhibition were developed out of an ongoing multimedia project that Liz has created around a series of 100 miniature self-portrait sculptures called the “LiZes”, which were made in their image through 3D scanning and printing technologies. Using these multiple selves in numerous narratives, Liz poetically explores the concepts of “Being and Becoming,” which plays out on miniature scale inside of handmade sets and stages.

To be and then to become both connote identity, time, and transition, and this concept is mirrored in the presentation of Liz’s video installation titled, A Practical Guide for Everyday Be-Coming, (Tutorials). Offering the viewer multiple entry points and perspectives in which to engage with the work and subject, the installation consists of a scale model of a performance set that sits in front of a large monitor, a video performance of Liz interacting with the model, and a set of QR codes that allow the viewer to have a 360 view of the model’s interior on their mobile device. As part of Liz’s exhibition they will debut Cloud Flag, which Liz describes as a “cloud amongst clouds” and is displayed outside of the gallery on our AIR_(space) Project flagpole.

Liz’s choice of language, metaphor and materials within these works joyfully emote their personal views on queer theory, as evidenced in their use of clouds made of a variety of repurposed materials, bringing to mind the foundational writings of Judith Butler, who asserts that one’s identity should be viewed as “flexible and free floating.”

In referencing the “tutorial”, an all familiar and accessible DIY source of knowledge, Liz asks the viewer to consider “how to” perform as something outside of the body, i.e., a cloud, an orange, or a mountain. Their performance speaks to the idea of experiential learning and knowing through play and applies that knowledge to their exploration of the spectrum of gender, again evoking Butler’s philosophy that “gender is a performance, not an essence.”

Artist Statement:

In A Practical Guide for Everyday Be-Coming (Tutorials), I present playful lessons in how to be, from a perspective of not-knowing, ambiguity, and refusal of productivity culture, subverting the familiar self-help how-to (…be a better consumer), they hack into the ‘How-To’ genre.” An engaged participant might learn “how to” something.Conventions become rules, potentially liberating through play. Play with and within it, discovering what brings joy and connection within the confines of social constructions. A body might be a convention, or a nebulous cluster: summit and/or explore and/or fall down…

a body will tell its own story

despite the mind, or to spite it,

but a strong preference: with it. 

it will be changing.

it will be now powdery rain – I mean, 

glitter glitter glitter – I mean,

snow – I mean, a ball hitting the ground with 

x amount of force could 

explode, bounce, or perhaps land


A joyous irreverence; a chorus be-coming together: new ways of being.

About the artist:

Liz Clayton Scofield [they/them/their] is a cloud, an orange, and a sonnet, seeking like- minded nebulous accumulations, citrus fruits, and poetic forms to play with across skies, trees, and pages. They are an interdisciplinary artist, writer, wanderer, play advocate, and collaborator. Their creative practice involves a lived performance in collaboration with tiny toy versions of themself, where they explore how to play, how to be a cloud, how to connect with others, how to eat an orange, and how to love, among other things. Their work has been featured in publications including Number, Nashville Arts, Wussy, and Dinner Bell. Exhibitions and performances include Cucalorus Festival, SeedSpace, Fuller Projects, and Noise Gallery. They have been an artist-in-residence with Cucalorus, the School of Making Thinking, Lazuli, and the JHU-MICA Film Centre. They hold an MFA in digital art from Indiana University, Bloomington, and a made-up BA from Vanderbilt University.