Silver Nest Bowl by Kaminer Haislip and Boo Hag Blue Indigo Baskets by Leigh Magar
Photograph by Jack Alterman
Interwoven: The Art of Indigo and Silver
Works by Kaminer Haislip, Leigh Magar, and Jack Alterman
Curated by Brandy S. Culp
34 Prioleau Street
Charleston, South Carolina
August 25, 2018 – October 7, 2018
Opening Reception August 24 from 5-7pm
Artist Lecture September 8 from 2-3pm
The City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs presents Interwoven: The Art of Indigo and Silver, on view at City Gallery August 25 through October 7, 2018. This exhibition features approximately 60 works by three contemporary Lowcountry artists who explore indigo and silver as both conceptual inspiration and materials of handicraft. Silversmith Kaminer Haislip, textile designer Leigh Magar, and photographer Jack Alterman will exhibit independent pieces as well as collaborative installations in media ranging from silver hollowware, flatware and jewelry to textile art, portraiture, and photography. The exhibition is curated by Brandy S. Culp, Richard Koopman Curator of Decorative Arts at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut, who has worked closely with these artists over a two-year period.
City Gallery will host an opening reception for the exhibition on Friday, August 24 from 5-7 p.m. An artists’ talk will be held on September 8 at 2 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.
An interdisciplinary showing of indigo and silver as they relate to contemporary craft, Interwoven brings together three artists who are deeply influenced by Charleston’s cultural heritage. For centuries, indigo and silver have been highly prized commodities among various cultures and the objects created from these raw materials are infused with symbolism and significance. Indigo and silver were essential to the early history of the Carolina Lowcountry—one a product that generated wealth, the other a literal display of this capital, and both integrally tied to enslaved labor. Works such as Haislip’s rice spoons, Magar’s rag quilting, and Alterman’s portraits demonstrate the artists’ profound appreciation of history and place, acknowledging complex, intertwined legacies.
“Providing a modern look at historically significant mediums, these artists are transforming materials important to the city’s history into contemporary art,” Culp says. “Through this project, the artists and I hope to create a dynamic and innovative exhibition that celebrates current design in Charleston as well as inspiring appreciation of waning craft traditions.” While compelled by Charleston’s rich and diverse heritage surrounding indigo and silver, each of the artists brings a unique, contemporary perspective to the exhibition.
Nationally recognized for her metalwork, Kaminer Haislip is one of few formally trained silversmiths practicing in Charleston. Her work was most recently highlighted in the Museum of the City of New York’s exhibition New York Silver: Then and Now. Inspired by Charleston’s long-standing silversmithing tradition, Haislip feels compelled to carry it forth. “Through my metalwork,” she explains, “I seek to enhance daily life by creating functional handcrafted objects that give a nod to the past but are entirely contemporary in form.” Hand-forging her flatware, hollowware, and jewelry, Haislip uses the very tools and techniques employed by silversmiths for centuries. Interwoven features nearly 30 of her handcrafted objects, as well as several hand-drawn designs and select forms in progress, all to illuminate the art of the silversmith.
Milliner turned textile artist Leigh Magar has established a small-batch label that combines art, fashion, history, and performance. Her “indigo seed to stitch” project was inspired by Eliza Lucas Pinckney, who brought this cash crop to the Carolina Lowcountry in the mid-1700s. Magar interweaves design and nature with her local garden, where indigo is grown and then used to create contemporary hand-dyed, hand-stitched garments, goods, and textile art. Interwoven highlights Magar’s wide range of indigo-dyed textile artworks, including items rooted in traditional quilt making and rag quilting as well as those which feature contemporary, non-traditional elements.
A native of Charleston and an award-winning photographer, Jack Alterman has participated in numerous multimedia exhibitions and one-man shows. With a new photography series focusing on color, texture, and creation, Alterman conceptually explores indigo and silver through portraits of local artists who are influenced by or who directly work with these materials. This series complements Magar’s indigo and quilted portraits of key figures, such as musician Nina Simone and Eliza Lucas Pinckney. “When I began this collaboration with an indigo artist and a silversmith, my thoughts were mainly focused on the raw materials with which they worked,” Alterman says. “Then I expanded my vision to capture a wide variety of contemporary artists [in Charleston] who are influenced by the shades and textures of indigo and silver. They are each unique, but all are connected by this time, this place and their use of indigo and silver as they seek to capture our unique culture.”
This exhibition has been organized and curated by Brandy S. Culp. The project is funded in part by the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs and the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department through their joint administration of the Lowcountry Quarterly Arts Grant Program, and by the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina. Additional support has been provided by Rio Grande, a wholesale supplier to jewelers and metalsmiths since 1944.
City Gallery, located at Joe Riley Waterfront Park, is owned by the City of Charleston and operated by the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs, presenting an annual program of exhibitions and events featuring the finest contemporary art from local, regional, national and international artists, with a focus on the Lowcountry. City Gallery provides access to the visual arts for everyone in Charleston, visitors and residents alike, by offering exhibits that are all admission-free.
City Gallery is located at 34 Prioleau St. in downtown Charleston, and gallery hours of operation are 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday as well as 12 p.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information and holiday closures, visit www.charleston-sc.gov/citygallery or call 843-958-6484.
A wholesale supplier to jewelers and metalsmiths since 1944, Rio Grande is proud to sponsor the work of acclaimed silversmith Kaminer Haislip in the “Interwoven: The Art of Indigo and Silver” exhibition.