Molly Springfield

SF Examiner by Tiffany Maleshefski

Drawings found in ‘Translation’

Q and A: The art of a copy

Molly Springfield draws painstakingly detailed copies of photocopies she takes of books. Most recently, the Washington, D.C.-based artist has reproduced — in sequential order — the first chapter of Marcel Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time.” Her show “Translation” is at Steven Wolf Fine Arts.

Would you take us through your process of creating drawings?

In terms of my actual physical process, it’s a little physically painful. I have to get into a zone where I’m kind of doing it, but not reading the text as I go along. It’s sort of like a Zen state.

How long does it take you to complete a drawing?

It takes between 1½ to two weeks. It depends on what I’ve got going on in my life. I think any kind of repetitive task, knitting, etc. … after a time, you develop a sort of muscle memory. It’s like an endurance test.

How many works are in the current exhibition?

Twenty-eight 11-by-17-inch drawings of photocopies. If you went into the bookstore, that’s the first 48 to 50 pages of the book.

What made you decide to start drawing photocopies of text?

I’ve always had an interest in text and the relationship that a viewer/reader has to text — the way it functions as an object or conveys information. When text is a visual art piece, it can do both. I’m also interested in books as objects and what nostalgia they carry
for people.

How long has this exhibition taken you to complete?

I worked on the project for over two years. I had other projects going on at the same time, but it was always something I came back to.

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