December 23rd, 2014

“Ephemeral Nature” by Carolyn Springer

by Andrew Christenberry



“I come from a long line of gardeners,” Carolyn Springer said, “My grandfather showed roses, and my mother, daffodils. Their influence has caused me to look at plants, not just as colorful things, but also for their forms. Because, when you’re showing flowers, you’re looking at the forms and how perfect they are.”


Featured throughout the month of January in the City Gallery, encaustic artist Carolyn Springer has stylized a series of homegrown horticulture inspired by native plants of the Hoosier State. Carrying with her a depth of appreciation for gardening spanning multiple generations, as well as years of experience in working with beeswax as an encaustic artist, Springer offers her viewers an approachable, elementally faceted take on a definitive aspect of the Indiana landscape. Her stylized plant forms provide viewers with the glorious essence of the physical, constitutive nature that makes Indiana our home.


“In my work,” Springer explained, “I’ve used the process of encaustic printmaking which incorporates beeswax into the print. I’ve taken the essence of the plant’s form, found the unique shape to that flower, and tried to say it with a simple shape. In this work, I love how I can let the medium have its say in what happens. Even the element fire has its say in the way it causes the wax to melt and puddle. I also love the quality of the wax in the way it has a watercolor like effect, and in the way the colors combine to gain iridescent qualities. This is work that needs to be experienced in the physical.”

Taking time to reflect on her formative years, Springer found inspiration in this work through the work of one of her favorite childhood artists name Charlie Harper. “Harper’s work influenced me at a very young age. His work was frequently published in the newspaper, and was inspiring for me in the way that he stylized animals. His stylization of nature has always been something I loved, but I really didn’t start thinking about his influence until I started working on this project,” Springer continued, “[In this project] I realized that I like to draw in a representational manner. However, when you create prints like these, you can’t create all those little details, which means you have to start styling. I also have a past in working with metals like copper and silver so I loved that I was able to utilize colored waxes, some with a sort of copper hew and some resembling a sort of pewter, to tie it together. I like how my past has come full circle to meet with the work I am doing in the present.”


To further compliment and bring an added weight to the work, Springer collaborated with a local printmaker named Dominique Senibaldi. Senibaldi, a recent graduate of Herron School of Art, worked with Springer in fashioning solid Indiana maple shadowboxes to showcase her work. “These frames, which are made of completely untreated wood, fit well with my work because maple is also a plant native to Indiana,” Springer said.

In her work, Springer hopes to serve the community as educator, teaching neighbors about our native plants, and helping them to appreciate the beauty of their forms.

Here are the plants that will be featured in Springer’s work:

  • Dutchman’s Breeches
  • Bleeding Hearts
  • Jack-in-the-Pulpit
  • Coneflower & Praying mantis
  • Beebalm & Hummingbird
  • Pokeweed or Pokeberry
  • Columbine
  • Toadshade-Trillium
  • Milkweed, Monarch & Caterpillar
  • Smooth Solomon’s Seal
“Ephemeral Nature” by Carolyn Springer hangs in the City Gallery throughout the month of January.