Dancing with the Dawn

Art Exhibition

10/12/2018--11/12/2018

Brought to you by

Milewski Nature Fund and Galaudet Gallery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Galaudet Gallery continues their 2018 year of the “Back of Beyond” experiences with their Fall 2018 art exhibit Dancing with the Dawn.  Partnering with the Milewski Nature Fund has been out of this world as we The  meld ideas like rhythm and discovery to continue their exploration of Ed Abbey’s ideas about the wilderness inside and outside.  Rhythm is found with artworks about dancing and dawn and the idea of discovery is found in NASA’s current Dawn Mission [i] to explore Ceres and other space exploratory images.

 

The main dancers are three large canvases by Vicki Milewski from her Dawn Always Rises series with dancers bringing the dawn up while changing the position of Venus and Mercury as the morning star.   Inspired by Oscar Howe’s Ghost Dancers and his Iktomi as well as Greek and Roman myths about a dancer who brings dawn into each new day, Milewski’s dancers took shape when the planets Mercury and Venus shared the dawn sky in March of 2017—an event that happens once every 14 years.

 

NASA’s Dawn Mission set out 11 years ago to obtain images of Ceres and Vesta—two planetary bodies in the asteroid belt of our solar system.   "Dawn's legacy is that it explored two of the last uncharted worlds in the inner Solar System," said Marc Rayman of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory who serves as Dawn's mission director. "Dawn has shown us alien worlds …. and revealed exotic, mysterious landscapes unlike anything we've ever seen."  Galaudet Gallery’s exhibit Dancing with the Dawn is also a farewell to Dawn since it is predicted that the spacecraft will run out of fuel sometime in October of this year.

 

Images by Algerian artist Q will show views from Dawn of Ceres’ surface and collages Q has created embedding Lewis and Clark’s compass onto these surface views.  An obvious supporter of space exploration, one of Q’s “You are Here” artworks will also show the over 21,000 tracked debris objects orbiting around Earth right now that are starting to pose a hazard for anything, or anyone leaving the planet.  “When the space garbage is really seen as in these drawings, all of us will understand better ‘You are Here’ and wonder why we are imprisoning ourselves with garbage.” Q explains.

 

Remedies Varo also brings her alchemical ideas about astronomy in two rare prints of her oil paintings.  Varo counts herself a surrealist and understands that not everyone will understand her work, “Everything that I do or undo, however disparate it may look to an observer with prejudices, is done for what should be done, that is, with courage and without fear of consequences.” Varo’s works are better experienced then simply explained.

 

Please join Galaudet Gallery in this gala send off party for the spacecraft Dawn and to enjoy our scientific musings on the idea of the Back of Beyond.  An event on Sunday October 14 from 2pm—3pm will bring Distinguished Scientist Dr. Sanjay Limaye [ii]  to the gallery with his talk "Why Venus is important"

 

Artistic and Curatorial Exhibit View:

Dawn Always Rises

an Art Series by Vicki Milewski

Dawn Always Rises 

An Astronomical Perspective

Vicki Milewski

 

Dawn Always Rises has several influences and inspirations.  South Dakota artist Oscar Howe's paintings of dancers, astronomical occurences like Mercury and Venus sharing the morning sky, hollyhocks growing outside a museum and NASA's Dawn Mission to explore asteroid belt planetary bodies.  Another influence on my artistic thought for creation and curation can be found in Mircea Eliade's writing.  In his book Yoga: Immortality and Freedom he researches the idea about alchemy and outlines ways alchemists were able to transform metals into gold  = "a free autonomous spirit"

“by touching the sun and moon with one’s hand”  

 

The dancers in this series pull the sun upwards to begin the day with dawn.  In Dawn Always Rises 1, the dancer is only concerned with the sun rising and she dances with the sun leaving Mercury and Venus in the pre-dawn sky.  In Dawn Always Rises 2, the dancer pulls the sun upwards while pushing Mercury down in the West allowing Venus to be the only Dawn Star for that morning.

 

Venus and Mercury hover along the horizon for dawn or dusk throughout each year.  The 8 year cycle of Venus has created many different cultural myths and stories for 1000’s of years.  March 2017 was a time when Venus and Mercury shared the morning sky and it was then that these paintings were begun.

 

James Martineau (1805 –1900) drew this “Dance of Venus” showing the floral pattern of Venus’ orbit across the sky when plotted geocentrically – from an Earth-centered perspective – there is a highly noticeable rhythm in the motion of Venus. After 8 years, it returns to the same place in the sky around the same date which made many past cultures use Venus’s motion for calendar purposes, rituals and ceremonies and to discern the future.  James Ferguson (1710-1776) also drew representations of the apparent motion of the Sun, Mercury, and Venus from the Earth, based on similar diagrams by Giovanni Cassini (1625-1712) and  Roger Long (1680-1770). In Arabic, Venus is called “El Zahra” - the flower.

 

Guy Ottewell in his book The Astronomical Companion, uses Martineau’s diagram to plot the orbit of Venus over 8 years – 2016-2023, at the end of this time period Venus will return to the same position in the sky as where it started in 2016.

 

Mercury shares a similar cyclical motion but instead of 8 years it is 6 years and the times when Mercury and Venus share the dawn sky are rare when they are both returning to their same position as when they started.  Ottewell plots Venus from 2016.  I have been plotting Venus and Mercury in the same position for several decades and March 2017 is when they both returned to the same position in the dawn sky together.

 

My first dancer recognizes this occasion by leaving them in the dawn sky together in the first painting, but this occurrence can only last a short time and so she dances Mercury down in the West to show the start of a new 14 year cycle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dawn Always Rises

A Critical Perspective

Vicki Milewski

 

 

The Dawn Always Rises’ Dancers were initially created to acknowledge the planets Mercury and Venus sharing the dawn sky in March of 2017; however, the genesis of these paintings began in 2015 when I was fortunate enough to attend the 100th year anniversary Art Exhibit of American Artist Oscar Howe.  On view were three paintings I had never seen before that featured dancers. 

 

Iktomi (1959 Watercolor on Paper) showed a young Indian dancer holding a crystal in one hand and an eagle feather in the other.  Iktomi is a Native American myth involving spider medicine which some Native Americans feel is medicine which creates technology and culture, sometimes equating the use of electricity as something taken from the Thunder Beings by a man called “Iktomi”.   Howe’s use of his Tohokmu (spider web) is shown in this Iktomi painting; in past essays I have posited the Tohokmu as a catalyst for present and future technological creations as in the internet, virtual reality and the burgeoning sense of artificial intelligence becoming on par with human intelligence what I have termed “virtual intelligence”.  Howe’s Iktomi shows this dancer holding the past in an eagle feather and the present in a crystal (the basic building block of our computer age technologies) showing again the visionary quality of Howe’s work

 

Heyoka Dancer (1965 Casein on Paper) has a single Heyoka Dancer who holds a rectangular  object in his hand that looks like a brick and the other hand appears to create part of the Tohokmu which he dances within.  Heyoka are often seen as a "sacred clown," one who could show people the errors of their ways.   Howe wrote, “That Indian historical forms preserved visually through paintings, thereby documenting them, is in a sense teaching history through art has been part of my philosophy and esthetics.” [1]  The Heyoka Dancer is connected to Wakinyan, or “Thunder Dreamers”. Wakinyan has two aspects: one side of him is fierce and destructive, while the other side is Heyoka, a laughter-loving clown who deliberately behave in contrary ways: they pretend to be shivering in the hot sun or say “you’re welcome” instead of “thank you.” [2]  This play with opposites has an intent to teach people mindfulness so that their intentions and actions can be balanced and to examine the root of all of our actions—our intentions.  Howe’s Heyoka Dancer seems to come out of the Tohokmu even as he is still a part of it, the sense that he also is creating the Tohokmu adds another dimension to our understanding of the Tohokmu—that we all participate in the creation of our reality and the inner weavings of our universes.

 

That the Dawn Always Rises’ dancers arose from these two paintings by Howe was not a straight line since their roots lie in the profuse explosion of Hollyhocks outside of the Journey Museum where Howe’s 100th Anniversary Art exhibit took place.  Over 100 degree temperatures led me to sit under towering cottonwoods to wait for a relief before driving my older van into the Black Hills so I sketched all afternoon.  First the Hollyhocks and then the dancers from the Howe exhibit started to emerge.  At one point I had to retrieve my largest sketch pad 18” X 24” to recreate what I was trying to capture.  I had to revisit the exhibit several times to analyze Howe’s dancers and I could see the direct influence his work had on mine.  Instead of a Tohokmu background, I made a light filled sky with one dancer in Wisconsin with soft green hills behind her and the other dancer in the badlands I had just left.  More dancers came forth that afternoon and all held stars and planets, touching the sky and enabling the dawn to arrive. 

Notes

 

[1]  Howe, Oscar. “White Buffalo Dancer.” Oscar Howe, Artist. Vermillion: University of South Dakota Press, 2004

[2] Dooling, D. M., ed. The Sons of the Wind: The Sacred Stories of the Lakota. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2000, xvixvii.

[i] NASA's Dawn mission is drawing to a close after 11 years of breaking new ground in planetary science, gathering breathtaking imagery, and performing unprecedented feats of spacecraft engineering.

 

Dawn's mission was extended several times, outperforming scientists' expectations in its exploration of two planet-like bodies, Ceres and Vesta, that make up 45 percent of the mass of the main asteroid belt. Now the spacecraft is about to run out of a key fuel, hydrazine. When that happens, most likely between mid-September and mid-October, Dawn will lose its ability to communicate with Earth. It will remain in a silent orbit around Ceres for decades.

[ii] Sanjay Limaye has been exploring the planets with focus on the weather from spacemissions for more than three decades and has also been involved in education and publicoutreach programs for nearly two decades. His areas of expertise include solarsystem planets with atmospheres as well as global warming and climate change.Sanjay Limaye has been honored with awards from NASA and the European SpaceAgency and has served as the Co-chair for the NASA Venus Exploration AnalysisGroup.

 

Speaker Profile and Photo: https://speakers.wisc.edu/speaker/sanjay-limaye/

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Dawn Always Rises 1  (2017)

by Vicki Milewski

30" X 40"

Acrylic and Mixed Media on Canvas

Lewis and Clark's Compass on the face of Ceres (2018)

Digital Collage by Q

Surface of Ceres (2012)

digitally altered by Q

16" X 20"

Pigment print on Matte Archival Paper

Wisconsin Dawn

Wisconsin Dawn

by Vicki Milewski

18" X 24"

Digital Photograph

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Surface of Ceres (2012)

digitally altered by Q

16" X 20"

Pigment print on Matte Archival Paper

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Dawn Always Rises 2  (2017)

by Vicki Milewski

30" X 40"

Acrylic and Mixed Media on Canvas

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Galaudet Gallery