Long Island can be an isolating place for visual artists. Robert Edwin’s solution was founding FRESH, “an in-flux art collective dedicated to underground and emerging artists on Long Island.”
Since 2006, Long Island artists have stepped out of their studios and brought their art to exhibit in FRESH shows. Splashy art shows with live music and multimedia presentations have been held at Painters’ restaurant in Brookhaven Hamlet, the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton and Gallery 4222 in Port Jefferson (now closed).
FRESH isn’t Edwin’s only creative outlet. When not helping Long Island artists get noticed or connect with each other, he’s working on his own art. Edwin graduated from School of Visual Arts with a BFA in Illustration. Rejecting the commercial sensibility, his art has an abstract atmospheric sensibility. Color commands the eye. “Color is huge,” Edwin explained. His paintings can veer towards figurative. Motion and movement are constant in his artwork.
Right now, Edwin has started working with oil paint. He’s spending time exploring the paint’s physicality and seeing how boundaries can be pushed. Exploration is happening for FRESH too. Edwin hopes for a larger exhibition home to expand art show possibilities. A dedicated venue could mean more art per show, larger works and more artists getting their work before the public and possible collectors.
The group is “in residence” at Toast Coffeehouse in Port Jefferson. Monthly shows (group and solo artists) are held year round. Art, photography and wall sculpture are installed on walls above coffee sippers, wine drinkers and tapas nibblers. Shows are curated by Edwin and Allen Boulos, who co-runs FRESH.
Openings at Toast are held first Thursday of the month. This month features photography by Brian Wasser of Patchogue. FRESH is also collaborating with Art Studio 85, an artist group from Centereach. They will present a group exhibition on April 9 from 6 to 10pm at the Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site and Interpretive Center in South Huntington. Art by Studio 85 members remains on view through April 17.
FRESH is poised to embrace the world. Edwin hopes to begin showing artwork from international artists to give Long Islanders a taste of art being made elsewhere. For more info, visit FRESH’s website at FRESHartlongisland.com or Robert Edwin’s personal site at CharcoalSoul.com.