top of page

Math Art
Vicki Milewski


EOT = Need to be Retied

              Walk Instead of Fly









Installation requirements:

EOT = Need to be Retied      

Walk Instead of Fly

is an original altered art, 3 dimensional paper sculpture housed in a “shadow box” frame with matting, under glass and wired for classic picture  hanging.  The dimensions of the box are 11” X 14” X 3”


Please note:  Although printed material is used in this artwork, each piece of the whole is hand applied through computer programs and through old fashioned cut and paste techniques.  Due to the sculptural nature of this piece it is difficult to capture the experience of the original in 2 dimensional images.  Each Altered Art 3D Sculpture I create is original, one of a kind and hence rare.


EOT = Need to be Retied  

          Walk Instead of Fly



Mathematical expressions as an art form intrigue me.  Finding unknown connections by turning phrases and sequences into new positions juxtaposed with ostensibly non-math expressions is one reason for my interest.  Recognizing, and honoring, the silent mathematical foundation inherent in the curve of a single lane, mountain road; the color of a peony bloom in my grandmother’s yard or the slant of the sun’s rays as it passes through badland formations during the center of summer are other reasons. 


Each piece of my math art follows the same artistic process as my other arts:  inspiration, realization, contemplation, research and then resolution on bases like canvas, paper, fabric using  media like oils, pencil, watercolor, print or sound while communicating with words, color, shapes, numbers and more. 


My flower piece titled EOT = Need to be Retied  

                                                 Walk Instead of Fly


is an Altered Art 3D Paper Sculpture  with a collage of ideas and inspiration from the following sources:

Three of my poems:  Songs beautiful, If you Are an Artist and If You See a Mountain;

Goethe’s poem the Metamorphosis of Plants;

Ibn Sahl’s law of refraction (in the original Arabic);

basic expressions of the polar coordinates equation;

the definition of the Equation of Time and

basic expressions of Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity and his General Theory of Relativity.


Goethe[i] wrote the beautiful poem, Metamorphosis of Plants, about a growing flower whose seed unravels when the “silent earth kindly allows Its escape”.  He then says, “Every flowered speaks louder and louder” as it grows into blooming.  Flowers often speak this way and I oblige them through artistically expressing them.


I’ve used ideas from Ibn Sahl’s[ii] law of refraction before and recently found Ibn’s handwriting in Arabic from the manuscript about this law.  The beautiful curves of his writing has inspired other projects I am still working on.


I used the Equation of Time EOT = GHA – GMHA[iii] because its inspiring to think about the difference between an experienced occurrence like the sun moving along its elliptic and the time we use to section of our days.  Knowing that the sun doesn’t follow a rigid schedule supports my belief in freewill and allows me to explore more tenants of freedom.

Einstein[iv] seeps into my work off and on.  His theories on light’s travel and how to measure distances are symbolic for much of my artwork.  In this instance, the distances I attempt to measure are between myself and a previous boyfriend where we both were in such constant motion I couldn’t determine how far apart we were at any given time.  The flowers he would send me from different parts of the world seemed to be the center of a vortex which we moved within so I tried measuring from this seeming constant but as Einstein showed us motion subverts measuring and everything is, in the end, relative.


My 3 poems are poetic conversations with some flowers men I have loved gave to me about my journey toward understanding them.  The poems best elucidate:



Songs beautiful


Songs beautiful pull water up

From deep wells dug in fall

But we left the same supply line to the house so

The cleaner water is still at the well


Songs beautiful fill cracked buckets while

Fish are screaming silently in circles

So I start down to the lake

Carry water down to feed the fish


Songs Beautiful carry empty buckets up

Gentle breezes carry words from flowers in dry vases

Deciding to be colors other than what they are

So I draw them in those colors, helping them relive their dreams





If You’re an Artist…


Flowers living together

decided to be colors

and ask what is it worth:

If you are an artist, shaky because so many dance feverishly

stealing glimpses of themselves as hungry people

as petrified stones flung at my heart

as an indiscriminate sun shines on and on

living as if completed,

If you are an artist do dried up spider lilies ask to be buried or painted?

Or do they ask to be explained to the stars in the dark sky looking up

after those hungry people ate everything

after being compared to Georgia OKeefe

after a janitor cleaning the toilet said he use to be an artist;

or do they ask for more seeds to bud to flower to

become a choice flower growing, helpless to the moon,

as some young men ask deep, dirty questions of once upon handsome young artists

now aged and forgetful forgotten stars lost in the moon’s brightness?

Or become flowers falling asleep, dreaming of spring as the sun shines on all

No matter what color


You could work all day at papers and pens

At grading and teaching

At explaining and defining

But my students still will go out to the streets to live out

Of dreams they fought against but became their life

Of longing once held onto but now sought after like a light

If you are an artist why do you still think of the past days of teaching?


1998/ revised 2014



If You See a Mountain


When you see a mountain

Should you climb?

“Sometimes,” he sighs I can’t but help it

“Other times,’ he states I know better

Alpine air and flowers bring memories of lust

Absent glaciers remind of trust

While the rocks allow choice flowers to grow

Without soil, water or love




[i] Goethe also wrote an essay in 1790 called the Metamorphosis of Plants where he proposed that petals and leaves could be homologous, as in derived from one ancestral form. 

[ii] Ibn Sahl (Arabic: ابن سهل‎)  (c. 940–1000) was a Muslim mathematician, physicist and optics engineer of the Islamic Golden Age associated with the Abbasid court of Baghdad. Ibn Sahll is credited with first discovering the law of refraction, usually called Snell's law.

[iii] This equation is a great support for freewill since it seeks to rectify the difference between where the sun is seen in the sky with the time it is in our great divisional time keeping methods.  I’ve often heard the sun referred to as “fictitious” in reference to our timekeeping since it doesn’t follow our clocks at all.

[iv]  for special relativity and  for general relativity

bottom of page