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Artist Statement for Where Our Food Comes From: The Receiving Jar

Artist Statement by Vicki Milewski

Where Our Food Comes From Part 1: The Milk Receiving Jar:

Dairy Farming in the 21st Century

Never Doubt

“Never doubt that a small group of committed, thoughtful citizens can change the world, indeed, it is the only thing that ever has" ---Margaret Mead

Just as this single, small corn plant inspired me to research, contemplate and then create artworks about it, so too each individual can contribute to reaching a more equitable distribution for our world. Just as this corn plant wants to live, to produce, to return to the soil, so too each individual wants to live, produce and live complementing the environment and adding to it. As an abstract expressionist, I examine inspirational moments through my creative process and art making; expressing moments that have inspired me to accept the thrill of life and all my pursuits, moments that energize me to move forward and beyond, moments of love. I live for those moments and to be able to paint them is truly a love of my life.

My new art collection Where Our Food Comes From explores our food system’s producers, production and products so they can be seen and heard, understood and then known. The first part of this four part collection elucidates the dairy farm’s receiving jar and the main protein cropped for cows: corn. The emergent corn plants in these artworks are the beginning of the dairy farm’s story and show the yellow pollen inside each young plant’s leaves which will eventually rise to the top of the corn plant and, when weather conditions are right, the tiny flowers of each corn tassel will explode pollen and use the wind for cross pollination. The corn stalks will also rub against each during this process, smearing each other with pollen. Corn cobs will mature about 100 days later and become the main protein dairy cows need to make the complex proteins in milk.

I seek to understand our seen and unseen world, life and love through my artwork with freedom, truth, family and community as my foundation. Once this corn plant inspired me to create, I followed its life span until the eventual end as grain in a cow’s feeding trough and entered into the heart of dairy farming. This is my process: inspiration then research, observation and contemplation before creating a collection, series or piece of art. My artwork begins with inspiration and moves toward understanding the unseen and seen worlds of life, love and community. After being inspired by a single corn plant I was then again inspired to see the entire field of corn plants with these glowing centers of yellow. I then moved toward understanding the unseen world of corn pollen in order to understand how even I need the right conditions in order to cross pollinate my life, love and art with others. Just as the environment around a corn field will determine the outcome of the corn crop, so too any environment I find myself in will determine my work, my living and my loving.

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