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 Charlie Mills  (1940 - )

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Lived/Active: Virginia/California/North Carolina      Known for: abstract expressionism, graphic design, commercial art

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Biography from Gallery C:
Charlie Mills was born in 1940 in Greensboro, NC. He received his undergraduate degree in painting from Virginia Commonwealth University and did further graduate studies at California College of Art in Oakland and UC Santa Barbara.

Mills’ landmark series entitled Myrtle Beach, is characterized by geometrically intersecting planes of colors. The colors (blue is predominant in this series) are softly veiled and layered in rich gradations.

Charlie Mills' work fits solidly in the American post-World War II art movement of Abstract Expressionism. Like Wassily Kandinsky, Charlie Mills concentrates on expressing an inner spiritual life, wishing his art to vibrate or resonate with the viewer’s soul. Like Richard Diebenkorn's paintings, Charlie Mills’ work is illuminating, with coastal references to sky, sun, ocean, and seaside.

"I was schooled as a commercial artist and obtained a BFA in Commercial Art at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. I spent many years in a variety of commercial art positions: graphic designer, pre-print production, color slide presentations, sign design and painting (which included truck lettering and pinstriping whose visual forms and tools can be detected in the present abstract work). More recently I've done 10 years of mural painting and about 30 years of figurative and portrait work.

All these served to round my skills at rendering the visual world for commercial applications. But even as a student I was more fascinated with the intuitive suggestion inherent in abstract painting. I sensed the deeper need for non literal expression. For over 50 years, I've made paintings which attempt to articulate those expressions. I try to bypass the usual process of pleasing the eye and the mind in a literal portrayal. I try to short-circuit directly from the Intuitive. The resulting images I might call "Impulse Images". They come from the unconscious. Their best expression, for me, though, is incomplete without visual parameters - controls from the conscious mind, such as defined shapes and edges and hence the calligraphic shapes and pinstriping. So my effort at the ultimate visual expression requires the balance of the conscious and the unconscious - or the mental and the intuitive.
I don't want to get up in the morning and make a painting look like something else:
I want to transcend this literal morass, and don't want to do a painting that LOOKS like something; I want it to BE something."

-Charlie Mills

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