Molly Springfield makes graphite drawings that use photocopies of printed texts as their source material. She is influenced by the history of reproduction: in art (19th-century trompe l’oeil, 1960s Conceptual art’s use of the Xerox); in literature (practices of translation and transcription); in technology (the digitization of texts, the rise of e-readership). She asks how key moments within that history fundamentally transform the way that we experience language.
Her projects are usually developed over a period of many years through in-depth research and painstaking manual labor. Past projects include an interactive archive of marginalia; drawings of photocopies of books about conceptual art; and her own "translation" of the first chapter of Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time in the form of drawings. Her current project considers the process of transcription and the development of modernism through the writings and photography of Virginia Woolf. The drawings are primarily inspired by two sources: a holograph draft of Woolf’s novel To the Lighthouse and reproductions of her personal family photo albums.
Reviews of her work have appeared in Artforum, Art Papers, Modern Painters, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Village Voice, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and Chicago Tribune. Her work has also been included in books including The Thing The Book: A Monument to the Book as Object (Chronicle Books, 2014), Invalid Format: An Anthology of Triple Canopy (Artbook/DAP 2014) and It Is Almost That: A Collection of Image+Text Work by Women Artists & Writers (Siglio Press 2011).
She has had fourteen national and international solo exhibitions, including shows in New York, Washington, DC, San Francisco, Chicago, and Cologne, Germany. Museum exhibitions include the Baltimore Museum of Art; Berkeley Art Museum; Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University; The Drawing Center, New York; Hafnarborg Museum, Iceland; Indianapolis Museum of Art; Portland Museum of Art; and the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University.
Springfield's work is included in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She received her MFA from the University of California, Berkeley in 2004, was a participant at Skowhegan in 2006, and was a MacDowell Fellow in 2016.