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Full Moon and

Glenn's Corn Seeing Beyond

Oil and Casein Paint

on Canvas

by Vicki Milewski

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Intel's Loihi Chip

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Intel's Loihi Chip

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Military style Argyle, the weave shows the interlocking squares.

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Detail of marble veneers, interior of the eastern portico of the Friday Mosque of Damascus, 715 CE. Photograph Manar al-Athar 

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The LP label for Billie Holiday's Strange Fruit recording

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Detail of marble veneers, interior of the eastern portico of the Friday Mosque of Damascus, 715 CE. Photograph Manar al-Athar 

American Icons

 

Fall/Winter 20/21

American Icons:  Prismatic Fruits

The evolution of the argyle pattern from Scottish Clan signifier to Persian algebraic pattern to DNA sequencing to

the Loihi Computer Chip

 

The American flag, rows of corn growing on dairy farms, Native Americans in regalia, Fermi Lab resident artist depicting a quantum explosion, Intel’s Loihi Chip, Apple Pie or Billie Holiday captured by photographer Gjon Mili singing Strange Fruit—what do all these images have in common?  They are a part of Galaudet Gallery’s Fall/Winter 2020/2021 art exhibit American Icons Part 1:  Endings Bring Beginnings.  Curated by sibling gallerists Mike Milewski and Vicki Milewski, American Icons looks at icons that have shaped our thinking, are shaping our perspective and might possibly change how we see life in the future.  Borne from several years of research, discussions with farmers, scientists, children and others, these gallerists bring a new way to enjoy art exhibits through their online viewing rooms, in person gallery space and virtual self guided tours or virtual tours with one of the curators.  The multiplicity of these ways to view this exhibit is iconic in itself since the technology allowing businesses to find a new state of prosperity during the past year is as American Icon as it gets.

 

American Icons begins with Michael Milewski’s How Many Worlds’ Do We Need? series of collage of Intel’s Loihi Chip [1] set in argyle patterns with images of earth from Apollo 11, and then graphic illustrations of our warming planet from 1970 to today (where the Earth is completely red).  Milewski mimicked the argyle pattern Intel focuses on knowing this ancient pattern’s history. Beginning in 200 AD the tartans of the Scottish tribes were woven in these patterns to distinguish tribes.  These same argyle patterns can be seen in Persian tessellations from 800 AD which assisted in the development of algebra. So too we now see DNA sequencing in similar patterns, more abstract argyle patterns, but still in the same square checked pattern. These ancient pattern makers may have laid the groundwork for deeper mathematical expressions seen in the DNA sequencing and  in the argyle patterns in  Intel’s Loihi computer chip designed for integration into the neural network that is being built to mirror the physical structure of the human brain in hope that this structure will allow a future Artificial Intelligence the chance to compute like a human brain.  This evolutionary march with the argyle pattern as a floor is revolutionary in how we look at the creative arts.  The abstracted argyle pattern seen in DNA sequencing, the minute detail in the argyle pattern of neural network circuitry are tied to the woven wools of those ancient Scottish tribes and the tiles and fretwork architecturally  created in Persian buildings.  Did the ancient Scotts and Persians’ creativity seed our imaginations for further explorations into who we are?  Were the argyle tartans creative expressions of a tribe’s DNA?

 

Seeing Icons as ground seeded for future generations to harvest ideas from is central to Galaudet Gallery’s new art exhibit American Icons. Drawing from Mircea Eliade the curators also take another step in seeing icons as symbols which give an immediate meaning, “symbols can express an enormous number of very precise details; although, they express them simultaneously, not successively as in speech and writing.” [2]  Both curators see how this simultaneity inherent in symbols may be the reason icons provide fertile ground for growing new ideas that are built from past thinking.  Simply seeing a certain argyle pattern would let someone know what tribe you belong to a symbol which would also tell you where you where in the Scottish isles, what type of people live there and how you might be greeted.

 

So does any great creative/artistic expression seed our search for greater understanding of who we are?  Could Icons like American Icons do the same?

 

How do these icons contribute to our sense of self, sense of place, sense of innovation, invention or any creative endeavor?

 

American Icons is the first exhibit in what Mike and Vicki are calling the Icon Series. Designed to look into Icons and symbols in art which have been foundational to our evolution in many different areas.  Starting with the nationalistic American Icons then moving to Global Icons:  Exotic Fruit before reaching Universal Icons:  Limitless Fruit.  Using the idea of fruit and the pomologicals that Galaudet Gallery has exhibited in the past ties into a greater art exhibit movement.  Other iterations on this exhibit theme are to be expected.

The title for the essay for American Icons is Prismatic Fruits inspired by Billie Holiday singing Strange Fruit which is captured by photographer Gjon Mili that is part of the exhibit.  The meaning behind Strange Fruit, the summer 2020 protestors seeking to be valued equally and the resiliency of American communities in the ongoing pandemic shows the bravery of all these Americans that we dedicate this exhibit to them.  Those who speak out about the need for equality for everyone, those who care about their communities even more deeply because of the pandemic and those artists visioning the fruit we dream of and make it prismatic. [3]  In such prismatic light we hope everyone is valued equally and prospers in their dreams.

  To end this short look into Galaudet Gallery’s new exhibit we offer the song Strange Fruit which is featured in the exhibit with a photo of Billie Holiday singing this historic song.  It is sad that there is still a type of strange fruit which exists in our society today and that it will take many more people standing together to move us into a new future. When Holiday decided to sing Strange Fruit, by  Abel Meeropol, she not only decided to shed light onto the violence of racism but to also say that the continuation of this violence will beget more of it. While the lyrics never mention lynching, the metaphor is painfully clear:

 

Strange Fruit

Southern trees bear a strange fruit,

Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,

Black body swinging in the Southern breeze,

Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

 

 

Pastoral scene of the gallant South,

The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,

Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh,

And the sudden smell of burning flesh!

 

Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck,

For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,

For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop,

Here is a strange and bitter crop.

Notes

 

[1] https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/research/neuromorphic-computing.html

Intel’s has identified the necessary relativity inherent in human thought and processing of information.  Now seen as “Probabilistic Computing” which can assist in creating uncertainty in processing, Intel sees its Loihi Chip as the net stage in creating an artificial intelligence which can reason with uncertainty as humans naturally do.

[2] Mircea Eliade  Symbolism, The Sacred and the Arts 1970

[3] Prismatic means exhibiting spectral colors formed by refraction of light through a prism

spectral   of or like a ghost.

Definition of refraction

1: deflection from a straight path undergone by a light ray or energy wave in passing obliquely from one medium (such as air) into another (such as glass) in which its velocity is different

Abstracted Apple Blossom 

Oil on Canvas

by Vicki Milewski

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How Many Worlds Do We Need?  (detail)

Mixed Media Collage

by Michael Milewski

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DNA Sequencing

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Campbell Clan Tartan Argyle, the weave shows the interlocking squares.

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DNA Sequencing

Detail of marble veneers, interior of th

Detail of marble veneers, interior of the eastern portico of the Friday Mosque of Damascus, 715 CE. Photograph Manar al-Athar 

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shaker treeShaker Art #1, Shaker Village
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