Copy this

Pub date March 10, 2009
SectionArts & CultureSectionVisual Art

Do you copy? If people who still like books — rather than people who stare at screens all day — are the zombies, then secret zombie networks are forming and strengthening throughout the Bay Area. An example is "One to Many," a group show at the homey Partisan Gallery: 20 artists — including Tauba Auerbach, Keegan McHargue, Emily Prince, and Leslie Shows — use and abuse toner cartridges to contribute an edition each to a box set of zines, and to create single pieces that are larger than the 11-by-17-inch maximum often associated with photocopying.

A handsome cardboard-encased object, the "One to Many" zine collection has a kinship to Noel Black’s Angry Dog Midget Editions, a 2003 collection I contributed to that Art on Paper caught up with last year. It also shares the folding tactics of Los Angeles artist-curator Darin Klein’s recent book projects. Both in and outside of the book format, the act or art of photocopying is an excuse for many contributors to paint it black — Lindsey White’s standout piece uses the white of the page and darkness of the ink to create misty effects.

Casual visitors to Steven Wolf Fine Arts routinely mistake Molly Springfield’s current show "Translation" for a series of Xeroxes. In fact, Springfield uses graphite on paper to create a handmade version of photocopied pages from the first chapter of Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. Working from four different editions, Springfield generates 28 drawings, each an uncanny act of meditation and dedication (she’s admitted that the couple-weeks-long process of creating a single piece can be physically painful). She renders the ghost scratches where ink doesn’t take to the page, and the smudges and waves in the center where two pages meet.

To what end? The subject of matter in its literal and figurative forms has been at the fore of Springfield’s past projects. In selecting Proust’s classic memory piece as a source to work from — and upon — she mines a rich vein. Speeding ever-faster into a frenzied post-material future, do we only have time to ingest portions of the very beginning of Proust’s remembrance? By recreating Proust’s text, does Springfield translate it? In the seven-part series "A Brief Note on the Translation," she travels through the editorial stages of an introduction she’s written for a soon-to-be-published book of these drawings. Stories about her work (and about her collaborator Bill Berkson’s connection to Proust’s last maid, Celeste Albaret) linger and transform within, and outside of, the text. (Johnny Ray Huston)


Through March 21

Partisan Gallery


Through March 21

Steven Wolf Fine Arts

49 Geary, SF

(415) 263-3677