Hunting with Louis Sullivan Vicki Milewski
Hunting with Louis Sullivan Vicki Milewski
A Visible Spirit
Presented by Galaudet Gallery
Galaudet Gallery 2223 W. Hubbard Chicago, IL 60612 & 618 S. Farwell Eau Claire, WI 54701 715-513-9994 email@example.com http://galaudetgallery.wix.com/ggllc copyright 2015 all words, images, layout copyrighted by Galaudet Gallery
Galaudet Gallery sells fine art from professional fine artists and emerging talent including oil painting, photography, sculpture, mixed media and multi-media pieces. Galaudet Gallery curates several fine art exhibitions a year including education, archeological ideas, decorative arts and events as a part of each exhibition.
On Cover: Detail of: Louis H. Sullivan, Impromptu! (1923) Vicki Milewski, “Corresponding Sympathies within the Heart” (2015) Inset: Louis H. Sullivan, “A” Dominates (1922) Vicki Milewski, A Visible Spirit (2015)
Published for the Century Chicago Artists’ Studios
The Beginning of a Third Chicago School Inaugurated by two Art Exhibitions: Forming Function and Hunting With Louis Sullivan Published for the Exhibition Hunting with Louis Sullivan Vicki Milewski October 1, 2015 –November 15, 2015
Contents Hunting with Louis Sullivan Part One Hunting With Louis Sullivan Artist Statement by Vicki Milewski Hunting for a Global Concern while Looking Toward a Universal Art by Jules Heffe A Short 21st Century Interpretation of Louis Sullivan’s A System of Architectural Ornament According with a Philosophy of Man’s Powers by Vicki Milewski
Original Artworks with short essays: 1. “A” Dominates Plate 6 A Visible Spirit 2. Parallel Axes (further development of Parallelism) Plate 8 (1922) Mystical Trails to Hike On (2015) 3. Fluent Parallelism (Non-Euclidean) Plate 10 (1922) Transforming Matter into Symbols of Spirit (2015) 4. Fluent Parallelism (Non-Euclidean) Plate 10 (1922) Rising Up, Into the Air (2015) 5. Fluent Parallelism (Non-Euclidean) Plate 10 (1922) Reading Symbols in Yellow Flowers (2015) 6. Fantasy, a study of curves in three dimensions Plate 14 (1922) Approaching the Fourth Dimension (2015) 7. Values of the Multiple Leaf: (Differential Energy) Plate 15 (1922) An Original Relation to the Universe (2015) 8. “Values of the Multiple Leaf: (Differential Energy) Plate 15 (1922) An Original Relation to the Universe (2015)—3 Photo Montage 9. Values of the Multiple Leaf: (Differential Energy) Plate 15 (1922) “Now Make the Dry Bones Live” (2015) 10. Impromptu! Plate 16 (1923) “Corresponding Sympathies within the Heart” (2015) 11. Finis Plate 20 (1922) The Seed is Waiting (2015) 12. Finis Plate 20 (1922) The Seed is Exploding (2015)
Photographs of Louis Sullivan Architectural Works 13. Panel from a Skylight in the Auditorium Theater, 1889 Photograph by Vicki Milewski August 2015 14. Detail of Auditorium Building (Roosevelt University) Window in 10th Floor Stairwell Photograph by Vicki Milewski July 2015 15. East Façade of Auditorium Building (Roosevelt University) Photograph by Vicki Milewski July 2015 16. Arch Window East Façade Auditorium Building Photograph by Vicki Milewski August 2015 17. Arch Window East Façade Auditorium Building Inverted Photograph by Vicki Milewski August 2015 18. Farmer’s Merchant Bank Columbus, WI Façade Window Photograph by Vicki Milewski October 2007 19. Farmer’s Merchant Bank Columbus, WI Flag Photograph by Vicki Milewski October 200 20. Farmer’s Merchant Bank Columbus, WI Façade Photograph by Vicki Milewski October 2007 21 Farmer’s Merchant Bank Columbus, WI Front Wall to Sky Photograph by Vicki Milewski October 2007 22. Farmer’s Merchant Bank Columbus, WI Front Door Photograph by Vicki Milewski October 2007 23. Farmer’s Merchant Bank Columbus, WI Sign Photograph by Vicki Milewski October 2007
Looking Toward Hunting with Louis Sullivan Part Two 24. Impromptu! Plate 16 (1923) Columbia! (Collage) (2015)
Artist Bio for Vicki Milewski Vicki Milewski is a 21st Century abstract experientialist challenging the boundaries of canvas, film, paper, words and music; mixing mediums in artworks and in compelling art collections pursuing experiences expressing the healing potential of nature. Her work often makes precise references to sites, history, metaphysics, ontology and pop culture. Vickiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s award winning art is internationally collected and exhibited by museums, galleries, organizations and private owners. Vickiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s music for choir and for solo piano is nationally performed. Vicki is also a published writer of articles, essays and poems; her non-fiction novel A White River Valley is just completed. Vickiâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;s main artistic focus is creating work that is responsive to the healing potentials found in life, love and nature. firstname.lastname@example.org http://vickimilewski.wix.com/vmartist
Hunting with Louis Sullivan
It started in Ganz Hall, Auditorium Building 1990 It continues on todayâ&#x20AC;Ś
“I believe in you my soul…How you settled your head …(then)..swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and knowledge that pass all argument of the earth” “Song of Myself”-- Walt Whitman
Hunting With Louis Sullivan Artist Statement It was during my time at Roosevelt University, where I was completing a degree in English with thoughts of teaching, that I envisioned this collection. I sang in the Roosevelt Chorus under Dr Anne Heider’s masterful conducting which included singing in the Sullivan designed Ganz Hall. The individually crafted columns, stained glass and murals all spoke to my education seeped in Emerson, Whitman, Dewey and Cooper. During a performance we gave of Carmina Burana, I thought about transcendentalism and Sullivan. The juxtaposition of those songs written by 12th Century monks about the ills of modern living with Sullivan’s 1890’s art and my late 2oth Century thinking all converged that day and I saw this collection as a whole, each piece came to life out of the air and I sketched on my Carmina Burana music and wrote notes to myself about my intentions. Hunting with Louis Sullivan has Four Parts with each inspired by Sullivan’s architecture and in his thinking. Part One is inspired by is a study of Louis’ drawings and ideas from A System of Architectural Ornament According with the Powers of Man (System), bringing them into the 21st Century by interpretively colorizing them. Part Two will contain collages, assemblages, drawings and paintings utilizing works from Part One and other inspirations from Louis Sullivan as source material. Part Three is a choral/orchestral piece I am writing called “Hunting with Louis Sullivan” it has four movements but I will premier each movement when it is finished, hoping to be able to finish the entire at some point in the future. The piano reduction is finished as well as the lyrics found at the back of this catalog. Part Four will collect all the previous work so that I can write (and draw a new philosophic treatise on the recognition of our personal powers that are founded in spirit, intellect, emotions nature and community (part of this catalog contains the beginnings of this work). But before creating the vision I saw that evening in Ganz Hall, I had to live my life and gain knowledge, understanding and little wisdom. I had to suffer. I had to experience ecstasy and tragedy, I had to walk up and down mountains and learn how to hike into the wilderness and stay there for weeks, I had to teach high school, then college. I had to love and lose and love again. I had to work towards the sight of my soul. I had to live. And now I understand that my art is a part of my life, it is like breathing or thinking it is so natural to me. And as I moved closer to finishing each part of this collection (since I had to work on all parts at the same time) I found that my file folders containing the work, research, photos and more elucidate my artistic practice and examine the type of art I practice. I have gone “hunting” with others like Rimbaud and Thoreau, but hunting with Louis is the only experience that has been transformed into a collection, almost autobiographical in nature. Throughout the years, after my first insight into this collection, I collected information needed to complete this collection. Photos of my visits to Louis’s banks in Columbus, WI; Owantonna, MN and Grinnel, IA; notes on visits to the Cliffhangers Club and notes on the Art Institute Collection. More study of Roosevelt University’s Auditorium Building and their archives. And there was the
reading of numerous books both by Louis and books that Louis had read and been influenced by and that I needed to read for influence or simply knowledge. I also lived with life, death, work, play and art so that many years later when I heard of an Architectural Biennial to be mounted in Chicago I knew the time had come to begin this collection. And so I began. On display in 2015 is the beginning and I will continue onward, finding space in between my art on the West and the shifting of America’s manifest destiny and my art on our family’s ancestral farm in Wisconsin. Just as Louis had his respite in Mississippi where he cultivated flowers and other flora for inspiration I too cultivate flowers, trees and other flora for inspiration and as part of an environmental mindset. Since the trail Louis began was one that relied on nature to inform function and form, nature to assist in the design of buildings, cities and life. It was nature that walked alongside Louis as he created his philosophy of man’s powers, as he drew that philosophy into reality, as he tried to understand the future. Even though Louis agreed with Emerson that we should have our own “original relation with the universe” part of that relation is with those who have come before, to investigate their ideas and actions and move forward with our own ideas and actions with a greater understanding of our universe because of our associations with the past. We must not mirror the past, we must study it and learn from it what we need to build our global present and prepare a universe for the future.
“Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs? … why should we grope among the dry bones of the past? The sun shines to-day also.”--Ralph Waldo Emerson
To that end I return to words Louis wrote about the future, about how to arrive at it with our spirits intact and still flying, about how we are all creators of realities, creators of universes:
“To seek and to find” our personal power “is the modern adventure…quite attainable if the method be simple and the spirit free: The trail to man’s simple powers leads with many windings through …civilization ….preconceptions …facts…illusion...fear…joy…” until the power inside us is found as “the dreamer of dreams, the creator of realities, the greatest artificer—the master craftsman.”
“Thus dawns the modern light upon the art of the world. It reveals that all” have the “destiny to create, courageously, wisely and worthily, a fit abiding place; a sane and beautiful world. And thus does the nature of universal art begin to emerge within the glow of this modern light.”
As I bask in the post-modern light of the 21st Century, I feel the trail that has gone cold for many is on fire for my work and the ideas that have become antique to many are edifices of the future in my work, and the experience of nature is still what leads me on into the light of a new day. Vicki Milewski Chicago October 2015
“behind nature, throughout nature, spirit is present… it does not act upon us from without …but spiritually, or through ourselves: therefore, that spirit, …does not build up nature around us, but puts it forth through us…” “Nature”—Ralph Waldo Emerson
Hunting for a Global Concern while Looking Toward a Universal Art Vicki Milewski’s first installment of her art collection “Hunting with Louis Sullivan” incorporates Milewski’s art and sense of polychromy with the drawings Louis Sullivan made for his final book, A System of Architectural Ornament: According with the Powers of Man. Sullivan’s philosophical writings and drawings have never been so well connected as in Milewski’s works. Her choice of colors and materials brings Sullivan’s drawings and ideas into vivid states which elegantly present a clear joining of the power these two artists hold. Her understanding of Sullivan and their shared influences like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman is clearly shown in the detailed and beautiful choices she has made in unveiling a true American philosophy that has been analyzed but never seen like this. Milewski’s 21st Century presentation of Sullivan’s early 20th Century drawings fuse into a 21st Century boundary push along vectors which follow these great thinkers into uncharted territory of a truly 21st Century American Art which leads into a Global Art with its eventual culmination in a Universal Art. These heady ideas are founded in Milewski’s reading of the 19th Century Transcendentalists as the stem from an elaborate root system of American artistic thought. Once Milewski encountered Emerson’s essay “Nature”, she states, “I knew these ideas as my own, I had an ‘original relationship to the universe’ which informed my art since childhood but I had not the words to describe it until then.” Visions, revelations and seeing nature as a mirror of the soul were commonplace experiences for Milewski, but were not ideas she had heard as acceptable before; Emerson changed that by giving her the language and lineage to proceed unabashed.”Finding Emerson and then Whitman was like learning how to speak again. As I watched my artist friends chasing trends or trying to get to the ‘other side’, I moved significantly away from all that and cultivated my ‘original relationship with the universe’ recognizing myself in the worlds around us. Finding Sullivan was like learning how to read my artistic direction since I discovered where all this “Americanism” ends—in a Universal Art founded in earth’s nature and the adventure of what lies beyond our knowledge of today.” These deep pathways that churn through our spirits reminding us that we are human has an importance today as during Sullivan’s times for similar reasons. Sullivan witnessed the strong hold of the Industrial Revolution; Milewski is now witness to the Virtual Revolution. The similarities between these two societal transformations are not lost on Milewski since the entrenchment of a machine based economy during Sullivan’s time meant mechanical manipulations of life was acceptable just as the entrenchment of a virtual fiat economy during Milewski’s time means illusionary lives are acceptable. Both these revolutions supplant the act of physical life which is tied to our emotional and spiritual lives which in turn tie us to the natural world. Even as we are beginning to accept the propaganda that the virtual world is as real as our physical world and that it could be the bridge to overall globalization, the importance of the natural world can be better understood in Milewski’s works that utilize polychromy studies of greens and blues which set up the mystical parallelism Sullivan defined as a fusing of art, science and philosophy. This is even a radical idea today as it was during Sullivan’s day and was inspired from even more radical people like the
Transcendentalists who lived during the preceding centuries, creating our nation and a manifest destiny policy that should have opened up other frontiers to explore like outer space and inner space instead of instilling a consumerist, empire-making mindset which has created the climate crisis we breathe in today. The gold and yellow flowers Milewski creates from Sullivan’s drawings seem simple in their structures and coloring but contain in them these radically old ideas: that nature exist to educate, inform and open up new paths for us to follow, new destinies to live. That there is a malaise toward our impending environmental crisis is no surprise to Milewski since the seeds of the crisis were so well tended during Sullivan’s time. Milewski sees it is almost time now to harvest this work and see what the harvest brings. Each piece in this 12 work collection does all this and more. Each piece is identified by Sullivan’s naming and the name Milewski has found in it when working her magic. Deep scarlet and burgundy colors that symbolize the “corresponding sympathies of the heart” as well using red as a warning about the still miraculous non-participation in the urgent concerns of our globe, our home, our planet are the immediate focal point upon entering Galaudet Gallery’s Victorian space in Chicago’s edgy, industrial West Town neighborhood. These colors and ideas are found in one of the largest pieces of this collection which Sullivan called “Impromptu!” and Milewski has named “Corresponding Sympathies within the Heart”, a quote from Sullivan’s preface in A System of Architectural Ornament… in which Sullivan referenced the need to allow nature to awaken a sympathetic response in artists and architects so that the natural world would inform their art. Sullivan agreed with Emerson that nature is like a “mirror” to our spirits, to how we should design and make art in order to capture a sight of our spirits and with this sight be in harmony with others and our word. Emerson wrote about the symbolism nature represents and how the workings found in the natural world should inform how we work in our daily lives—in order to find that natural harmony in our selves which is our natural state. Sullivan took this idea a step further by positing that the natural world should inform artists and architects to create works which will help others see into their mirrors, to assist nature in her work in creating harmony and a beautiful and sane world. Milewski walks this idea out even further in “Impromptu! Corresponding Sympathies within the Heart”, by utilizing the colors of our circulatory system bringing forth the natural workings that keep us alive and that should help us to see each other as equals, but she juxtaposes this anatomical color choice with a statement that the red is also a “warning about our natural world which is being altered to meet humankind’s needs without any thought as to the loss humankind will face when the natural world is altered beyond any recognition of what it once was, what it could have been if left to grow on its own, what it means to us as people sharing a world with it.” After investigating the magnetism of “Impromptu! Corresponding Sympathies of the Heart”, one naturally turns toward the yellow flower to the south which is a coloration of Sullivan’s “Values of the Multiple Leaf: (Differential Energy) Plate 15” which Milewski named “An Original Relation to the Universe” a nod to a much used Emerson quote that each person needs to establish their own personal relationship to their universe. Emerson lamented in the paragraph in his essay “Nature” where this quote is found, that people should not base their experience and their art on the past, on
the experiences of people in the past; but instead, each person should have personal experiences that only each individual could have. In many of Emerson’s essays, he persuaded the reader to have personal revelations of God, to create art seeped in individualism and that past cultures should be considered “dry bones” that are no longer alive today. This is why Milewski chose for her title of the second coloration of “Values of the Multiple Leaf”, “Make these Dry Bones Live” which is also a quote found in Sullivan’s hand on a sketch of this drawing. Choosing over 10 blues for “Dry Bones” is like Milewski is pouring water over them to allow them life today because Milewski knows all this rhetoric does not mean that Emerson felt we should dismiss the past entirely; instead, we should embrace our present lives to the fullest while also fully aware of the past and past cultural experiences. Milewski persuades with her two colorations of “Values of the Multiple Leaf”, that we should share our revelations of God instead of act like no one has them; that we should share our experiences in creating our lives, our art, our world instead of thinking that other people had remarkable lives that we do not. Milewski has explored this facet of life in her adventures in the Badlands of South Dakota and her travels with a Lakota medicine man she memorialized in her book, Tell the World About Us. In these two pieces she furthers her explorations through color and form while also bringing the early 20th Century fully into the early 21st Century which may seem like a contradiction given the Emersonian titling but becomes instead a statement about how to proceed forward: with the past known and the present lived so that the future is something new and different from what has come before it. These statements proposing a new time, a new way, a new design method, these statements are held in Swarovski crystals gleaming at precise points on Sullivan’s final drawing for this book. Each crystal is like a star with Sullivan’s drawing working as the star system surrounding it so that in total this work is like a universe unto itself. The alignment between 21st Century crystals and rounded carnelian beads on an early 20th century drawing is what the 21st Century seeks and yet pretends that such an assemblage is maybe too beautiful to be taken seriously, or maybe too sane and so too serious for our glance-at-a-screen lives. Or maybe it is an art that can simply be art and cause our spirits to rejoice, even for a second, that beauty and craftsmanship and an integration of the past, present and future is a stable and beautiful way to see our worlds, that it is our way forward as we accept the Globalized Art we are living in and move into the Universal Art that is our heritage. Jules Heffe Chicago October 2015
“Now Make the Dry Bones Live” Handwritten note on Sullivan’s draft for A System of Architectural Ornament According with a Philosophy of Man’s Powers
A Short 21st Century Interpretation of Louis Sullivan’s A System of Architectural Ornament According with a Philosophy of Man’s Powers Louis Sullivan’s final words on his philosophy of architecture is found in his book A System of Architectural Ornament According with a Philosophy of Man’s Powers which includes essays and drawings that explain Sullivan’s philosophy in words and pictures. Sullivan’s two main essays in this book are dense and packed with insight. Written like a Whitman poem, the groupings of words grasp several levels. If not read like the poetics it is, Sullivan’s writing can be difficult and at times incomprehensible. The title of the book is instructional in how to read Sullivan since the first and second parts are actually the same—Sullivan’s drawings of “architectural ornaments” are part of his “philosophy of man’s powers”. At first the drawings seem like suggestions on architectural ornamentation, appearing like modelings of nature; but then, as they progress to metaphysical symbols of Sullivan’s philosophy of “Man’s Powers” it is evident that each drawing is another way to view these powers. These drawings coupled with Sullivan’s essays in this book, and throughout his life, take on an almost supernatural quality with some of the forms having a true physical movement and others showing visions of new dimensions within and outside of the Euclidean and Cartesian systems. There are 20 plates comprising the drawings with some meant to be studied alone and others meant as a study in progression toward concepts like “freedom” “movement”, “parallelism” and other ideas that comprise Sullivan’s philosophy of “man’s powers”. The chief power of man is sympathy which is a part of love. Sullivan’s personal life was in a void at the writing of this book and so he does not wax philosophic on love but dances around the idea with suggestions of “romance”, “corresponding sympathies of the heart” and belief and faith. Another power of man is life. Sullivan often uses the term “life force” to mean a compilation of powers, but life to Sullivan is based in our physical nature. Another power is spirit. Spiritual matters concern Sullivan the most since this is where our ideas and power are inherent. The progression of plates is from simple explanations of axes used in construction to ornate free flowing drawings. This progression is part of Sullivan’s discourse on his philosophy, as the drawings get more complicated and “free” so too do the concepts they show. Sullivan uses his drawings to explain beyond words what powers like “sympathy”, “intuition” and “rationality” mean in a context of transcendentalism seeped in naturalism while looking forward toward the future of art and architecture to first a national art, then a global art and then a universal art—where each individual creates a sane a beautiful world through self expression and a personal relationship with life. The main idea in A System of Architectural Ornament According with a Philosophy of Man’s Powers is of course the powers each individual has available. Sullivan touches on topics like love, life and spirit while finding their collolories in community, culture and freedom while keeping in mind his goal: the creation of a “sane and beautiful world”. Sullivan uses drafting, geometry and metaphysics as sources of explanation employing them to create his drawings as almost visual aids in his philosophical search for a universal art in his beautiful world. Sullivan makes it clear that his
famous quote, “form ever follows function” is more than a minimalistic, utilitarian design philosophy and it is more than a statement about his use of ornament in architecture; instead, “function” means the function of spirit in community, of life in freedom, of love that is in sympathetic resonance with the rest of the world; “form” is an individual’s response to a specific geographic nature and environment—not needing to be realist but needing to be inspired by an individual’s life, love and spirit. Form and function become part of the powers Sullivan believes each person has and can use to create a “sane and beautiful world”moving the idea of architectural ornament (Sullivan’s focus from his publisher) to an idea of a philosophy of architecture and of art. Each plate has a physical and a metaphysical meaning that is connected and future oriented. Sullivan embraced innovations and inventions of his day which changed how buildings were constructed, but he also looked toward the future when nature would reveal even more secrets and change building constructs and even materials. Sullivan was an ardent “American Architect” with strong nationalist ideas; however, many lose sight of Sullivan’s true goal: a universal art. The progression Sullivan outlines in A System of Architectural Ornament According with a Philosophy of Man’s Powers is that first artists, craftsmen, architects and more need to have an individual experience and expression of their environment which meant if one is living in America then the artistic output would be informed, inspired and in harmony with America. Once this nationalistic based individualism was understood then one could move toward a global expression which would lead to a universal expression. Sullivan’s use of the words “global” and “universal” are not tied to his early 20th Century life because of his work as a visionary. Emerson may have informed his use of the word “universal” but his use of the word “global” in this progression points toward a 21 st Century idea that is just beginning to take hold. International biennials and art expos are positing that we artists are making global art, the marketplace atmosphere with galleries from Spain, China and the U.S.A next to each other in a large festival hall is more than just placement it is a statement that artists are working in a global mode. Our current climate crisis should unite all people of the earth in a shared vision of resurrection, if not preparation, as well as our shared longing for living a life of one’s own choosing. This global art is one seeped in nationalism and a true understanding of an individual in an environment. The commoditization of much of the world into McDonald’s and Starbucks could be seen as helping move global art into position and it does at least help us see our similarities; however, it is our differences that will make a stronger statement when within a global art piece. The first Mcdonald’s was in a neighboring town to where I grew up and my family would go there for the locally raised hamburgers from farms that were still in existence close by. At the time no one knew the extent McDonald’s would grow to and the globalization it would proffer, but looking back it is clear that it was the originality of idea and the well known individualism of McDonald’s, “It was a true Midwestern idea—a hamburger with potatoes—it now seems so simple and basic that the platform for it to thrive in a global market was in its strength of individualism and it’s sense of nationalistic pride that this was an ‘American meal.’” This digression from art to consumerist restaurant is to make this point clear—that first there is a nationalistic art which once well founded
and known can become a global art. Only after these two steps have been completed will a universal art be created and known. Sullivan did not fear metaphysics, symbolism or bringing past magic into his times. In using the Platonic solids and then transforming them with the axes of three dimensions, Sullivan also projected a new way of seeing art and architecture and life lived with spirit. These ideas can still transform our way of being in this world and help us to find a sane a beautiful way forward, but we must move fearlessly into this way or risk losing sight of the true prize: our spiritual powers as founded in our natural lives.
Vicki Milewski Chicago October 2015
“I and this mystery here we stand.” “Song of Myself” Walt Whitman
Artworks with Short Essays
Louis H. Sullivan, Architect Vicki Milewski , Artist “A” Dominates Plate 6 (1922) A Visible Spirit (2015) 23 ½” X 21” $825.00 Pencils: Oil, Watercolor, Lead over Pigment based print on 100% Cotton Rag Plate 6 takes the axes examined in Plate 5 and “frees” them into 4 natural forms. Sullivan writes, “The aspect of Freedom is beginning to appear.” Three axes marked “A”, “B” and “C” are shown exploding into different natural forms. The function of these forms is to move from a Euclidean system which spawned the Cartesian grid system and move into a more naturalized, individual design aesthetic. This also means advancement toward using our mystical powers, since undoing the shackles of the past found in grids and axioms provides the freedom of mind to accept mystical ideas within parallel lines, nature and our spiritual lives. Sullivan chooses three axes to work upon to illustrate our 3 dimensional world, but it is in his “A” Dominates drawing that a 4th dimension is suggested in the curving lines that wrap around the “A” axis. Einstein’s general relativity found the fourth dimension expressed as space/time continuum to be curved due to energy. The curving shapes around the “A” axis in Sullivan’s “’A’ Dominates” shows this idea clearly. And as with many great ideas, Sullivan and others sensed the 4 th dimension (a non-Euclidean one that therefore has mass and is not flat) before Einstein mathematically used its existence in his work. Milewski chooses to create sunflowers in Sullivan’s drawing as a chance to empower each observer to know he or she is the sun for this artwork since the sunfowers’ heliotropic design has their heads turn to follow the sun on its diurnal path each day. And so each sunflower in “A Visible Spirit” is turned toward the viewer, soaking in the sun from each of us. Milewski chose the title “A Visible Spirit” for her part in this work as a bringing forth a true American identity in order to move into our universal self through reenergizing the work of American artists, poets, philosophers and architects. Sullivan’s influences are Milewski’s: Whitman, Emerson, Thoreau and it is this shared understanding which informs Milewski’s art collection Hunting with Louis Sullivan. This collection and Milewski’s work grow deeper into the framework of the American psyche of the 21st Century since Milewski has recognized the need for a true American art lineage to be in place so that we can move into our truer Universal selves who embrace equality and celebrate diversity, who look to the stars for more than horoscope fortunes or suggestions for pre-Big Bang constructions, who are empowered to bring intellect and imagination together.
A Visible Spirit
“A” Dominates A Visible Spirit 23 ½” X 21” Pencils: Oil, Watercolor, Lead over Pigment based print on 100% Cotton Rag
Louis H. Sullivan, Architect Vicki Milewski , Artist Parallel Axes (further development of Parallelism) Plate 8 (1922) Mystical Trails to Hike On (2015) 11” X 16 ½” Pencils: Oil, Watercolor, Lead over Pigment based print on 100% Cotton Rag Sullivan writes that “Plate ‘8’ is a further study in multiple parallel axes, both vertical and horizontal, with the introduction of distant parallels and fluent parallels—thus preparing for the larger idea of parallelism.” The “larger idea of parallelism” Sullivan refers to is his philosophic idea that parallelism is a domain that is “mystic” since it is where ‘art, science and philosophy fuse into a single vital impulse.” This prepares the way for organic and inorganic to also fuse or blend through the use of “imaginative will”. Sullivan then goes on to describe the parallelism “between man and nature” and between intellect and imagination. With these mystical connections Sullivan uses the very constraints of Euclidean and Cartesian systems to free his designs, his imaginative will and his spiritual life. By discovering the Emersonian symbolism in the natural world and reaffirming the Whitmanesque universal patriotism found in each blade of grass; Sullivan is preparing a fertile ground with ideas that can illustrate as well as release our innate will to power, our innate sympathies with the natural world which can inform our choices and decisions in our everyday life and out spiritual one so that we may take the mystical trail onward toward these powers with the journey instructing us on how to use them best.
Parallel Axes Mystical Trails to Hike On 11” X 16 ½” Pencils: Oil, Watercolor, Lead over Pigment based print on 100% Cotton Rag
Louis H. Sullivan, Architect Vicki Milewski, Artist Fluent Parallelism (Non-Euclidean) Plate 10 (1922) Transforming Matter into Symbols of Spirit (2015) 21” X 23” Pencils: Oil, Watercolor, Lead over Pigment based print on 100% Cotton Rag
Rising Up, Into the Air (2015) 8” X 7” Pencils: Oil, Watercolor, Lead over Pigment based print on 100% Cotton Rag
Reading Symbols in Yellow Flowers (2015) 8” X 7” Pencils: Oil, Watercolor, Lead over Pigment based print on 100% Cotton Rag Sullivan’s belief that the spirit of each artist must breathe life into each creation stems from his parallel belief that artists must allow nature to communicate with their spirits in order to make art and architecture whose form will follow the function of nature. Sullivan also felt that parallelism bridged the space between organic and inorganic and that there is a parallelism between us and nature and between us and our works just as there is a parallelism between the universal energy of all and its search for form. He terms parallelism “mystic” since “within it art, science and philosophy fuse…” which may explain the raw energy this drawing has. Milewski has done three renditions of “Fluent Parallelism” one for art (“Transforming Matter into Symbols of Spirit”), one for science (“Reading Symbols in Yellow Flowers”), and one for philosophy (“Rising Up, Into the Air”).
Fluent Parallelism Reading Symbols in Yellow Flowers 8â&#x20AC;? X 7â&#x20AC;? Pencils: Oil, Watercolor, Lead over Pigment based print on 100% Cotton Rag
Fluent Parallelism Rising Up, Into the Air 8â&#x20AC;? X 7â&#x20AC;? Pencils: Oil, Watercolor, Lead over Pigment based print on 100% Cotton Rag
Fluent Parallelism Transforming Matter into Symbols of Spirit 21â&#x20AC;? X 23â&#x20AC;? Pencils: Oil, Watercolor, Lead over Pigment based print on 100% Cotton Rag
Louis H. Sullivan, Architect Vicki Milewski , Artist Fantasy , a study of curves in three dimensions Plate 14 (1922) Approaching the Fourth Dimension (2015) 11” X 16 ½” Pencils: Oil, Watercolor, Lead over Pigment based print on 100% Cotton Rag The curvilinear attributes of this drawing speak of the 4th dimension and beyond to Milewski and so Sullivan aptly named this plate “Fantasy”. Milewski sees the curved horizon lines (which seem literally like an arch above a doorway) and the curved nature of the sun which attempts to hold the design inside as signals that Sullivan is speaking a mathematical language informed more by a 21st Century sense of the space/time continuum being curved than of simple building designs or ornamentation. And this is where Milewski sees many of Sullivan’s fans and detractors lose their understanding of Sullivan’s ideas and ultimate goal—a “sane and beautiful world” constructed in harmony and through contemplation of nature in acceptance of our mystical powers. Architectural ornament was simply a vehicle for Sullivan to transport his ideas to a greater public. It was not ornamentation alone that Sullivan sought but that buildings and design and art should inform people about our national and universal character, that it should examine and expose the symbolic natural world so that each individual should be free to find their true identity. Such detective work is often lost when Sullivan’s ornamentation is seen as something applied to his buildings and something apart from his famous saying, “Form ever follows function”. When the minimalism of the mid 20th Century sought to change the meaning of this saying they also sought to veil the rest of Sullivan’s ideas. But his true nature still speaks and instructs us to reestablish our connection with the source, progress into nature and encounter who we are as a people in this universe and as individuals who can apply our powers to fuse intellect and imagination in order to transport our true selves into the light of today. Just as Whitman has been cornered into a Beat legacy and Emerson has been relegated to archaic American Literature classes, Sullivan has been put into a category that does not take into account his contributions and his true identity. All three of these men were true visionaries, true harbingers of the future and the need for us to listen, learn and then use their ideas and works as tools in constructing our own worlds, lives and connection to spirit is more vital now than ever before. Our current environmental crises would be well informed from study and use of their ideas. Our current city planning should also take a look at more than a Burnham Plan or a grid like existence. Our current loss of spirit to a virtual world where community is founded on “likes” and “friends” that may or may not exist needs to be disrupted so that we can find a balance between our lives, the natural world and technology. This may all be a fantasy that Milewski seeks in her art, but that she seeks it and knows others do as well means the legacy of America and or our universe is safe for tonight.
Fantasy Approaching the Fourth Dimension 11” X 16 ½” Pencils: Oil, Watercolor, Lead over Pigment based print on 100% Cotton Rag
Louis H. Sullivan, Architect Vicki Milewski, Artist Values of the Multiple Leaf: (Differential Energy) Plate 15 (1922) An Original Relation to the Universe (2015) 21” X 23 ½” Pencils: Oil, Watercolor, Lead over Pigment based print on 100% Cotton Rag
“Now Make the Dry Bones Live” (2015) 21” X 21” Pencils: Oil, Watercolor, Lead over Pigment based print on 100% Cotton Rag Emerson writes in his essay “Nature”: “The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs?” “…why should we grope among the dry bones of the past, or put the living generation into masquerade out of its faded wardrobe? The sun shines to-day also.” “The Values of the Multiple Leaf…” are to regain our original relation to the universe so that we can begin the unfoldment of our personal and cultural history and future. The subtitle of “Differential Energy” may literally apply to the expansion of geometry beyond Euclidean parameters; but, it currently is a cause for theories on transportation of mass over space/time as we have seen on science fiction shows like Star Trek. Plotting the differential energy of any given mass is the first step toward understanding how to transport that mass through its energy signature through time/space Milewski brings out this relationship through careful study of the current theoretical physics of transporting and the structure of the central growth of Sullivan’s drawing. In her “An Original Relation to the Universe” she brings out the structure in 14 different shades of green, showing the differential energy of this part of the drawing. Sullivan writes on this plate that, “The energy comes from the characteristic seed…” For Milewski this combination of current scientific research and early 201th Century architectural drawings assists in establishing an original relationship with her personal universe and the outer universe by recognizing the parallel concepts of planting, seed, growth, differentiation, evolution then harvest and the differential energy involved in transportation. This also brings another level of meaning to Sullivan’s work on the Transportation Building for the World’s Columbian Exposition. In Milewski’s “Make These Dry Bones Live” she references Emerson’s quote by quoting a handwritten note Sullivan made on his draft of A System of Architectural Ornament for this plate. This quote connects “Differential Energy” to concepts like resurrection and eternity. Sullivan also references “Romance” as a part of this plate and Milewski sees that romance as not only a wonderful connection between two people, but also as seeing our life with new eyes, not only seeing beyond the past but knowing how to incorporate the past into the present which will bring forth the future.
Values of the Multiple Leaf: (Differential Energy) An Original Relation to the Universe 21” X 23 ½” Pencils: Oil, Watercolor, Lead over Pigment based print on 100% Cotton Rag
Values of the Multiple Leaf: (Differential Energy) “Now Make the Dry Bones Live” 21” X 21” Pencils: Oil, Watercolor, Lead over Pigment based print on 100% Cotton Rag
Values of the Multiple Leaf: (Differential Energy) An Original Relation to the Universe 12” X 36” 3 Photo Montage, Exhibition View
Louis H. Sullivan, Architect Vicki Milewski Artist Impromptu! Plate 16 (1923) “Corresponding Sympathies Within the Heart” (2015) 27 ½” X 22” Pencils: Oil, Watercolor, Lead over Pigment based print on 100% Cotton Rag Sullivan wrote that our natural surroundings will awaken “corresponding sympathies within the heart” which could evolve a similar coordination between the mass of a building and its detail so that the natural surroundings of any region, when they awaken this sympathetic recognition in an architect or artist, would inform or inspire creation of buildings and art that would be understood as a tree is understood. This awakening was likened to a spiritual one by Sullivan, who repeated Whitman’s premise that he “values only spiritual results”, with an insistence that a spiritual center needed to be found in order that a “beautiful and sane” style could come forth. Milewski writes of the same beliefs and takes them a step further by saying all life is sacred, that all life is imbued with spirituality. Where Sullivan insisted that a correspondence between nature and artists needed to be established for a true creation to occur, Milewski goes beyond that by recognizing all life (organic and seemingly inorganic) is sacred. Pursuing experiences in nature, from farm fields to mountain peaks, Milewski has found this spirituality and in it a healing potential that goes beyond herbs and goes into the very heart of things: the simple experience of being within nature and allowing it a presence in her art. The choice of red for “Impromptu! Corresponding Sympathies Within the Heart” is as a literal representation of the heart and its inner workings, which Milewski sees as a bridge to our acceptance of everyone—since all of us have the same internal workings like the heart how can we continue to allow external characteristics to lead prejudice and discrimination? But the red is also a choice for warning about our natural world which is being altered to meet humankind’s needs without any thought as to the loss humankind will face when the natural world is altered beyond any recognition of what it once was, what it could have been if left to grow on its own, what it means to us as people sharing a world with it. Just as Sullivan lamented buildings which did not take into account the spiritual, cultural, emotional ramifications of their presence; Milewski now laments that the very nature Sullivan felt should be consulted in order to imbue our buildings with life, that very nature is being altered to succumb to our short-sighted wishes.
Impromptu! “Corresponding Sympathies Within the Heart” (2015) 27 ½” X 22” Pencils: Oil, Watercolor, Lead over Pigment based print on 100% Cotton Ra
Louis H. Sullivan, Architect Vicki Milewski, Artist Finis Plate 20 (1922) The Seed is Waiting (2015) 14” X 14 ½” Pencils: Oil, Watercolor, Lead over Pigment based print on 100% Cotton Rag
The Seed is Exploding (2015) 14” X 14 ½” Crystals, Carnelian, stone and thread on Pigment based print on 100% Cotton Rag Milewski chose this name after re-reading Walt Whitman’s poem “Song of the Universal” which examines inspiration, science, culture and the soul wandering amongst them all—themes Sullivan worked with during his career. Whitman careens back toward Emerson and even Plotinus when acknowledging that the mind plays an active role in shaping or ordering the objects of its perception, rather than passively receiving the data of sense experience, but that the soul is what comprehends everything since it is a part and one with everything. Sullivan’s use of the metaphor of the seed, planted, exploding, growing and evolving was to explain his original relationship with the universe in that all activities can be mirrored in nature, and that we can learn of new activities by studying nature and through these ideas we can plant new seeds of our own invention, we can explode into a new form and find our foundation in the functions of spirit. And so, each of us has seeds that are waiting to be created, planted, exploded and allowed to grow and change as we navigate our universes remembering what Whitman told his soul--that the stars roll through the skies for it.
Finis The Seed is Waiting 14” X 14 ½” Pencils: Oil, Watercolor, Lead over Pigment based print on 100% Cotton Rag
Finis The Seed is Exploding 14” X 14 ½” Crystals, Carnelian, stone and thread on Pigment based print on 100% Cotton Rag
Detail of Finis The Seed is Exploding 14” X 14 ½” Crystals, Carnelian, stone and thread on Pigment based print on 100% Cotton Rag
Photographs of Louis Sullivan Architectural Works
Panel from a Skylight in the Auditorium Theater, 1889 Photograph by Vicki Milewski August 2015
Detail of Auditorium Building (Roosevelt University) Window in 10th Floor Stairwell Photograph by Vicki Milewski July 2015
East Faรงade of Auditorium Building (Roosevelt University) Photograph by Vicki Milewski July 2015
Arch Window East Faรงade Auditorium Building Photographs by Vicki Milewski August 2015
Farmer’s Merchant Bank Columbus, WI Façade Window Photograph by Vicki Milewski October 2007
Farmer’s Merchant Bank Columbus, WI Flag Photograph by Vicki Milewski October 200
Farmer’s Merchant Bank Columbus, WI Façade Photograph by Vicki Milewski October 2007
Farmer’s Merchant Bank Columbus, WI Front Door Photograph by Vicki Milewski October 2007
Farmer’s Merchant Bank Columbus, WI Front Wall Photograph by Vicki Milewski October 2007
Farmer’s Merchant Bank Columbus, WI Sign Photograph by Vicki Milewski October 2007
Looking Toward Hunting with Louis Sullivan Part Two Louis H. Sullivan, Architect Vicki Milewski Artist Impromptu! Plate 16 (1923) Columbia! (2015) 16” X 20” Digital Collage
Louis H. Sullivan, Architect Vicki Milewski Artist Impromptu! Plate 16 (1923) Explosion 27 ½” X 22” Digital Collage Hunting with Louis Sullivan has four parts. As I look toward Part Two I thought it best to display one of the collages and one assemblage that I have been working on. There are also drawings and paintings utilizing works by Louis Sullivan as source material and as inspirations. As I delve deeper into my resonance with Louis I find it best to keep in mind the sources and materials in use. To that end the following list of images within the collage Impromptu! Columbia! follows:
Louis Sullivan’s drawing Impromptu! Full Moon July 2014, Photograph by Vicki Milewski Willis Tower Antenna Sherwin Asrow designed the Antenna pole and attachment beams. The contractor for antenna installation was Don Hudella (dba Lightning Deterrent) Photograph by Vicki Milewski July 2000 The Circle (Jane Byrne Interchange) I90 and I290 intersection (Image from Internet) Train Intersections outside Union Station Photograph by Vicki Milewski August 1998 Art Institute Lions: Edward Kemeys’ "In an Attitude of Defiance” Photograph by Vicki Milewski July 2002 Spirit of Music Theodore Thomas Memorial by Albin Polasek Photograph by Vicki Milewski October 1991 Statue of the Republic (the “Golden Lady”) by Daniel Chester French created this replica Photograph by Vicki Milewski May 1998 The Bowman by Ivan Meštrović Photograph by Vicki Milewski August 2015 Fire made by Michael Milewski on Milewski Farm Photograph by Vicki Milewski September 2012
Impromptu! Explosion is a digital collage of using the work Impromptu! Corresponding Sympathies of the Heart
Hunting for Louis (Sullivan) in the Ganz Room You are here I came looking for music Here you stand A monument to this land Its history in the plan of the grain in the wood The circle of the shell moved from pedestal top to sand. The shell intrigued and led to: figure circle eternal The shell takes growth as evolution It grows leaves on vine It shows spine of trees While decaying into the pedestal top—a growth of spontaneity. The seed then erupts From its germination the woods’ plan begins the shell prospers growth. Growth is the power inherent to us all a flower that is dying releases this growth
The power is then free to roam the fields The power is you and me. The shell has no longer any need for outward growth inward growth ensues The cross is eternal life It’s the struggle and exchange of life for death The cross is now flowing into this charade of sound to explain the pain in growth The shell is back Octagon fantasy intact and reacting to the eternal power of the circle figure. The symphony is over All bells are up the echo is heard from many hills away The shell is the symphony My mind the instrument Imagination is the sound color way.
Impromptu! Exploding (2015) 27 ½” X 22” Pencils: Oil, Watercolor, Lead over Pigment based print on 100% Cotton Ra
Sullivan And he was lucky Like a comet passes by Its tail leaving new shards of ice New cupfuls of water Or how the asteroid passes by each night Taking its time in passing Over a week now still passing Deciding if it will change its course and change our lives forever It is bright in the morning sky A companion star of Mercury traces with it for a while Until the sun rises and the earth turns and I have to wait for the asteroid In the morning sky again And he was lucky Since he was in the tail wind of formative thinkers He even wrote to Whitman, still alive, surrounded by disciples Too busy reclaiming rejected poems to write back He was lucky to be alive at a time when he could catch that new cupful of water Or a shooting star from that asteroid He was able to gather it all in and try to explain it He was able to see the path of a flying bird as A direct symbol of God A direct connection to his heart A chance to understand his soulâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s progress through the stars Now I have to gather it all in Try to explain it And then be formative for the next Since the path through the woods has been lost There is no going back to find it I know from having traveled with Rimbaud When it is lost, it is lost--continue onward! So I will and since there are so many trails now In the forest of America Trails that now connect with the rest of the world I may have to look up and find our new trail there. 10/20/2015
Dedication: This art collection and installation could not be possible without the support, assistance, creativity and love of my brother Mike who is my rock and my mentor and who is a patient instructor in how to live life fully and with compassion for self and others
Copyright Galaudet Gallery 2015