Photos spur closer scrutiny of subjects by Alan Artner
Molly Springfield's painstaking drawings at the Thomas Robertello Gallery are of photocopies of covers and pages of books. Often she allows the content of the pages to dictate the form of the drawings, and that can be subtle as well as interesting.
"Old Scraps," for example, has an art book open to pages on the 19th Century American fool-the-eye painter John Frederick Peto. The photocopy of the book Springfield has presumably reproduced actual size, but she has surrounded it with apparent scraps of lined horizontal papers and a lot of white space. As in Peto, the scraps have fool-the-eye passages duplicating adhesive tape and fictive shadows. It all is managed with a light touch and proves not as obvious as it sounds.
The other links between the books' content and the drawings' style are more difficult to discern, particularly in the multipanel piece that reproduces fragments of six poems by James Tate. Here the photocopier's fragmentations, striations, blurrings and intrusions of light are as important as the texts, and the arrangements created from them may prove satisfying in themselves. The artist's focus, however, is more on such issues as reading versus seeing and pencil versus print.