My Ancestors Are Watching

Mój   przodek  są  oglądanie

by Vicki Milewski

New Tassels

Digital Photo Untouched

My Father's Barn

35mm Photo Untouched

My Ancestors Are Watching (Mój   przodek  są  oglądanie) celebrates Milewski's paternal Polish heritage and the central Wisconsin farm her father grew up on and worked to bring into the 21st Century for the family.  


My Ancestors Are Watching integrates Chicago history and the people who made this city what it is today and Chicago’s promise of what it will be tomorrow using both the past and future as inspiration for the present.   Milewski sees Chicago as a gift her parents gave to her since they decided to raise their family in its shade; her parents are inspirations and dreams.


My Ancestors Are Watching carries on her parents’ dreams and honors their works while also embracing the idea that all her ancestors are still present in her life.  This installation honors them both showing how they taught Milewski to embrace each experience as a possible inspiration and in this way of  viewing life, Chicago has inspired Milewski to create visionary art and to understand diversity through living in this first class city.

My Ancestors Are Watching is a large collection so for this installation pieces were selected which tell the story of Learning, Knowing, and then Understanding:

  • Learning:  Our whole life is for learning

  • Knowing: To Know something is to make it a part of yourself

  • Understanding:  To understand is a going beyond knowing, understanding there is more to know.


Learning has images of young corn in paintings, photos and abstractions to express lessons the family farm teaches Milewski showing her how to accept her role as the next generation managing this property.  But it isn't just the farm that connects Milewski to her father, she also shared a love of the outdoors and wilderness areas with him and so two selections from Milewski’s 21st Century Ribbon Maps[i] bring their travels together by showing two rivers, one they both crossed and one they both dreamt of crossing. 


Knowing has images of growing corn, to express experiences Milewski has had in learning about this crop, soil and the need to help others know where their food comes from.  A Badlands Road Archival Box is one of Milewski’s Archival Boxes inspired by Joseph Cornell’s assemblage boxes[ii] and her work with John L. Foster and the Field Museum of Natural History’s Ancient Egypt Exhibit. This archival box contains an award winning photograph Milewski took of a place in the Badlands that helped her father know her as an artist along with other archival pieces from her experiences in the Badlands.  She furthers Cornell’s work in metaphysically combining ideas and objects to reveal the self by working with more personal objects that she has created and objects connected to the places examined by each box.  Milewski also extends the term “archival” to include a future sense of self and not just an historical look back.


Understanding holds another archival box holding Milewski’s acclaimed photo My Father’s Barn with archival items from that barn. Her photographs of Milewski Lake reflecting Wisconsin skies show her understanding of “as above, so below” and the responsibility owning the farm

brings.  Two of Milewski’s Simple Pleasure canvases are also on view, inspired by her father and Wassily Kandisky[iii].  Milewski connects Kandisky’s spiritual evolutionary theories to her own course of utilizing art creation and exhibiting as evolutions of the self while also bringing abstraction into the 21st Century by allowing it room to breathe beyond expressionism taking it to Milewski’s work in Abstract Experientialism.




































Sample installation of My Ancestors Are Watching



[i] In 1887 Captain Willard Glazier drew his Father of Waters Ribbon Map of the Mississippi River to prove his theory about its origins.  This was the first ribbon map made and was connected  in sections and was a total length of 132” X  2.7”


[ii] Joseph Cornell (1903 – 1972) was an American artist and sculptor, one of the pioneers and most celebrated exponents of assemblage with his most characteristic art works being boxed assemblages in shadow boxes, usually fronted with a glass pane, created from found objects that Cornell felt were metaphysically revealing of the self when brought together.


[iii] Wassily Kandisky (1866 – 1944) is credited with having painted one of the first intentionally abstract paintings in the early 1910’s.  Kandisky also used his experiences and theories of spiritual evolution and thoughtforms as a basis for most of his later painting.


Milewski Barn at Dawn

Milewski Barn at Dawn

Digital Photo Untouched

Corn at Dawn 6:26 am

Digital Photos in a chronological series Untouched

Web of Life at Dawn 5:06 am

Digital Photos in a chronological series Untouched

Corn with Full Moon

Gamblin Oil Paints on Belgium Linen 18" x 24"

1 Canvas shown part of a diptych 

Corn with First Quarter Moon

Gamblin Oil Paints on Belgium Linen 18" x 24"

Detail of 1 Canvas shown part of a diptych