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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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‘The Fragile Bee’ finds a home at Texas A&M

Photo by Photo by Paul Burke

Nancy Macko found her inspiration for her exhibit “The Fragile Bee” from the biblical figure Hagar. 

In a unique synthesis of art and science, artist Nancy Macko explores eco-feminism using bees and their relationship to the environment.
The Texas A&M Visual Arts Committee opened “The Fragile Bee: Works by Nancy Macko” in the Memorial Student Center’s Reynolds’ Gallery on Sept. 12. Free and open to the public, the exhibit will be available through Oct. 27.
“The Fragile Bee” is a mixed-media exhibition, employing a combination of different art forms to create a diverse display. Management senior and chair of the Visual Arts Committee Hollis Charanza helped her team set up the gallery before it opened and said she was surprised by the number of different pieces that worked together to create the exhibit.
“I helped to organize, arrange and hang up the honeycomb pieces and clusters,” Charanza said. “There’s some really interesting printmaking and photography.”
Even more interesting was the concept that inspired the art and how everything came together, Charanza said.
“Her [Macko’s] concept is eco-feminism and the exploration of patriarchal cultures,” Charanza said. “When I first heard that, I loved it because I love bees but as I heard more about it and her inspiration behind it, I was even more impressed, especially with how it all came together in the gallery.”
Macko, who is originally from New York, received her graduate degrees from the University of California-Berkeley with concentrations in painting and printmaking. Now a professor of art at Scripps College in Claremont, California, Macko remains and active practicing artist.
Macko said she was inspired to create “The Fragile Bee” by listening to author Savina Teubal’s describe the significance of the biblical figure Hagar.
“A long time ago, before the bees were in jeopardy, I went to an art symposium where I heard Savina Teubal speaking about her book,” Macko said. “She was talking about the significance of Hagar being mentioned in the Bible. This had to be absolutely so critical because God spoke to her and they don’t write about God talking to very many women.”
It was a phrase in Teubal’s book that sent Macko down the path that lead to ‘The Fragile Bee’.
“It was the phrase ‘bee-priestesses’— it just grabbed my attention,” Macko said. “I love the idea of women working together and worshipping together. I was looking for a way to bring my own spirituality into my work. It was so magical to me.”
Macko said she actually has two adaptations of the concept — one that’s more environmentally focused, and one she calls “more romantic.”
“About 15 years ago, when so much came into the news about the disappearance of the bees, I started to photograph plants that specifically attract bees,” Mack said. “This got me into it more deeply from an environmental point of view. The piece at College Station is the more romantic one.”
Charanza said she believes this exhibit will appeal to a wide variety of A&M students.
“I think it applies to several different types of people,” Charanza said. “People interested in agriculture and wildlife will be interested in the ideas about preserving the honey bee. But it also applies to feminists and liberal arts interests as well. And, of course, artists.”

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  • Nancy Macko found her inspiration for her exhibit “The Fragile Bee” from the biblical figure Hagar. 

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