In September of 2016, I was recovering from hand surgery brought on by years of making extremely labor-intensive graphite drawings based on photocopies of printed text. I was in the early days of physical therapy and barely able to sign my name. I couldn’t draw. But I could think about what I would draw when—or if—I could draw again.
I had questions about ekphrasis—a form of writing, often poetry, that vividly describes a scene or a work of art. Could a drawing, a work of visual art, itself be ekphrastic—that is, could it prompt the viewer to “read” its words and thereby evoke a mental impression of another work of visual art?
My search began at my usual starting point: in the library stacks, where I often look for books with inspiring content, but whose physical form also suggests the ultimate form of my drawings. I gravitate to books with visible signs of use and age or unusual layouts that are then accentuated by the photocopier, and in turn, my hand.
A catalog search in George Washington University’s Gelman Library took me to row PR 6045, which shelved several promising titles. This was the Virginia Woolf section and, as I always do in the library, I began to browse. . . . continue reading
Essay by Molly Springfield for MICA's literary journal, Full Bleed.