Civic Food - Carolyn Springer

'Chew on this' doesn't always imply eating. Actually, when it's used it's almost never referring to real food. Carolyn Springer's upcoming City Gallery show, Civic Food, is a conversation on place much like the phrase "Chew on this" would be utilized. Springer uses encaustic paintings of places and spaces, buildings and landmarks to talk about history, transformation, renewal, and hope. Springer, a native of Indianapolis, began her love with painting at the age of five. She said it was the smell of oil paints that drew her in. And if you've ever been in an artist's studio you might understand why she was enthralled. She's now a self-taught encaustic painter (painting with bees wax) and working on a book describing different techniques to encaustics.

Her October show 'Civic Food' pursues the layers of Indianapolis. So many places in Indianapolis "feed us", she says, or inspire and refresh us. Often the current state of a building or plot of land gives a person particular feeling or offers a unique perspective while visiting. Yet, that spot has most likely undergone many transformations. Each place has a personal history and identity. Her latest work captures this.

For instance, her painting of the canal shows the Indianapolis' landmark's history in a snapshot. Viewed from the Indiana State Museum, her canal painting has a set of misty layers. You see the current cityscape of Indianapolis, former trolley public transit, and a boat in the water. It puts together all the layers of history. The contemporary individual sees the current cityscape from the canal, but through a bit of research, the individual can know that that the same view carries with it a rich story of evolution. A story that includes generations of infrastructure that brought Indianapolis to its most recent state. The individual can sit and ponder the varying stages of the canal or place of history like it.

Springer says, "We're just passing through" and these historic places will be something new for future citizens yet. Encaustic art include layers and layers of wax to make just one painting. It's an involved process: melt the wax and quickly paint it before it dries, then add another bit of melted wax and paint again. The wax of her paintings, like the spots of old, carry the varying layers, literally in the art and metaphorically of Indianapolis.

"People had to sacrifice so much and I wish they could see the beauty of this city now," she says. It's amazing to see how much Indianapolis has changed (for the better) and grown in the last few years. New restaurants, new start-up businesses, new residents all add to the growth. Indianapolis is morphing into something beautiful still. Her work seeks to capture that and inspire what is to come.

Come October 5th from 5pm-9pm to the City Gallery to see Carolyn Springer's latest work Civic Food of the rich layers of Indianapolis. Her work will shown through October 26th.