Molly McGrath (b. 1983) makes drawings, paintings and mixed media artworks. Her extensive body of work includes collages of children’s album covers, drawings of Chicago transit system signs, portraits of doll faces, and Sesame Street memorabilia. Her work directly responds to her environment, with her everyday experiences as her starting point. She often seizes moments and materials that might pass unnoticed by others, integrating them into her art and presenting them in a new, more striking fashion. McGrath works with quasi-scientific precision, often serially replicating objects around her; these works then collectively become investigations of objectivity and challenge the division between the realms of memory and experience. By using an ever-growing archive of reference material, she absorbs the tradition of actively remembering into her art practice.
When not in the studio, McGrath enjoys attending plays, lectures and the opera, and loves dining out all over Chicago. She joined Project Onward in 2006 and lives in the city’s South Loop neighborhood. A meticulous writer, Molly pays careful attention to documenting each of her drawings and creating lists of artworks to be made in the future. Like other artists with autism, Molly is especially fixated on series and segments, or parts of the whole, as exemplified by a recent series of drawings, Parts of the Shirt, a conceptual work dissecting in detail a green oxford shirt. Also part of the artist’s experience of living with autism is her consistent interest in themes she developed during childhood. For example, McGrath has been watching Sesame Street episodes for so long that she is able to easily reference what season and episode number pertain to any drawing she makes, as well as the year it originally aired.