Charleston City Paper
By Allston McCrady
It’s been 12 years since an unassuming cinder block building tucked off a sleepy section of St. Philip Street was brightly painted with the giant letters REDUX and transformed into an artistic hotbed. At its inception, Redux Contemporary Art Center was an ambitiously cool concept — a collection of artist studios with a central exhibition space and workshops open to the public. But was it ahead of its time? Too avant-garde for a city whose art galleries sell marshscapes by the dozens? Would it survive?
The answer for the latter is yes. Redux is relevant. Radically relevant. Its panel of advisors sifts through scads of proposals from talented artists across the country to select thoughtful, edgy, often provocative work, pushing Charleston’s artistic boundaries a little further. The application process is rigorous. It is a serious honor to land a show on these walls.
Every other year, Redux takes a break from the national talent pool to cull from within, celebrating the work of its own studio artists. In years past, this took the form of a group show, an often discombobulated hodgepodge of media with no central theme. This year, Redux takes a new approach.
For its upcoming show Reorientation, executive director Stacy Huggins invited proposals from local Redux artists and reviewed them herself, looking for threads and visions that might complement one another. She whittled her choice down to four artists, all women, all working with different materials, whose images struck her as organic or inspired by the natural world.
“These artists really stepped up,” says Huggins. “Their bodies of work are impressive. They’re all super talented, very committed to their art forms. None of them collaborated when submitting their proposals, yet their work meshes well.”
Kaminer Haislip: Silversmithing
Stop by Redux almost any day of the week, and you’ll hear strange sounds coming from a corner studio — whizzing, pounding, cutting, grinding, the steady roar of a blowtorch. Peek your head through the curtains and you’ll see a sylph-like young woman with pale skin wearing green tennis shoes she calls her “grubbies,” hunched over her jeweler’s bench, hard at work.
A silversmith, her name is Kaminer Haislip, and since joining Redux in 2005 she has made a name for herself with her sleek, contemporary vessels. For Reorientation, Haislip submits five works from her “Learning to Fly” series.
Inspired by some photos she took on a flight up the coast, Haislip etches the clouds into metal, paints them with a tar-like substance called black resist, then submerges the silver in nitric acid, which eats away at the recessed silver to give the pattern depth. The result is powerful: a stark contrast between the crisp geometry of the polished silver vessel and the ethereal, transient, organic feel of the clouds.