projects > Selected reviews, interviews, & catalogue essays

Online Critic's Picks by Amoreen Armetta

Washington, DC-based artist Molly Springfield has titled her first New York solo exhibition, which consists of ten exquisitely rendered drawings of photocopied books, after Douglas Huebler's 1969 statement "The world is full of objects, more or less interesting; I do not wish to add any more." True to this invocation of 1960s Conceptualism, Springfield embraces the materiality of language -- though not Huebler's insistence on ephemerality. The question arises why Springfield would cast into the world a twice-removed facsimile that involves copying photocopies by hand with carbon paper and using that trace to construct finished drawings. (One would hope that the explanation would not involve either Walter Benjamin or Freud's notion of the palimpsest.)

The three books depicted in Springfield’s series, including Lucy Lippard’s Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object from 1966 to 1972, are seminal to our understanding of text-based art. The photocopying process exaggerates the books’ volume by emphasizing shadow; ready-made chiaroscuro is effortlessly generated, ripe for drawing. In Springfield's hands, every striation is seductive, exact; some are even textured. One imagines her faithfully rendering every inch of every letter until they become abstract shapes no different from images. Because of this, we can look at these works without reading them and are reminded of other associative, additive processes -- writing, thinking, and the kind of active reading Springfield also pictures: Sprouting from between the pages of her books are dog-eared slips marking other words that she will, presumably, look at again and again.

February 2008