Charlie Edmiston's work explores the boundaries of form, media, and color in a manner evocative of mid-century modernists. Where his predecessors' explorations are narrowing and subtractive, Edmiston's projects are expansive. What were once cutting edge and dangerous advances in the modernist avant-garde are now tamed as fundamental tools for art creation. It is not that Edmiston takes these works for granted, but rather that he has so fully accepted their validity that he can wield the concepts as building blocks for constructing artworks that are elusive in their definition. Art whose purpose is to invite further exploration and contemplation rather than codify stylistic definitions. At a recent exhibit of works, Edmiston's pieces hang on the wall as paintings, yet strongly resemble minimalist sculptures in form and construction. They function as fine art, but they begin through a design process. Even individual shapes and colors elude definition. The harmonious and pleasing compositions may at a glance seem to include triangles and rectangles, but upon closer examination, lines end in curves, subtle angles add extra vertices and edges and truly regular shapes become the exception rather than the rule. Colors seldom use full saturation, instead, Edmiston prefers slightly muted and sophisticated tints and shades that when placed together evoke all the vibrancy of his native L.A., but individually are quiet and elusive - not red, but reddish, not blue, but sky-ish. The cumulative effect is one of soft boundaries, not for the edges of the individual works, but for the viewer's preconceived notions of what design is, what a painting or a sculpture is, and even what shapes and colors are. Perhaps what is most remarkable about such genre-defying work is how elegantly inviting it is. In an era where many artists pursue a confrontational style, overwhelming the viewer with a crassness of imagery, and chaotic distortions of pop culture iconography, Edmiston's works function with a Zen-like grace. They are quiet invitations to open the mind. At once contemplative and accepting, the artist's work creates a safe space where the viewer can let go of external expectations and simply be.
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