Two pieces of work from Fabulon’s We the People show are now at the Vendue Hotel where Robert Lange Studios curates shows. He does a great job of collaborating with other artists and galleries. I have always admired the way he aspires to make art approachable and was one of the first to introduce the idea of a rotating art gallery show in the hotel lobby.
This show, on display until September, is called Homage, Redefining Inspiration.
Homage is a funny word. It is one of those words we use (or often misuse) in the manner in which it has come to be known: reverence. However, originally, it meant: a) “feudal ceremony by which a man acknowledges himself the vassal of a lord b) the relationship between a feudal lord and his vassal c) an act done or payment made in meeting the obligations due from a vassal to a feudal lord”, according to Merriam Webster. The ceremony must be done publicly for all to witness. How positively medieval. I do like the newer homage as in reverence and it’s other synonyms: respect, honor, worship, admiration, esteem, and acclaim.
Homage first came to me in an art history class. One painter pays tribute or gains inspiration from another, then creates a work that pays homage to that artist. Laura McRae-Hitchcock has a stunning painting that pays homage to Gustav Klimt.
Our current show, Back to the Garden, might be called an Homage to Mother Nature. I hear it a lot in the art circles, as you might expect.
But it occurred to me that I use homage often in my daily life. More accurately, I practice homage. I celebrated Easter Sunday by planting flowers and vegetables in my garden. I do not spray chemicals and I try to be as organic as possible in homage to the bees. It is my first garden in SC and I want to do it right. This will be the first time in more than 57 years that my mother does not have a garden. She once knew all the plants by their Latin names until Alzheimer’s wiped them from her memory. The creation of this garden pays homage to my mother.
Recently I discovered that I have appropriated a little ritual from one of my students. Nicolas is deaf and communicates with a variety of signs and gestures. When he is satisfied with an art project, he sets it aside and then silently claps his hands together in 3 little pats. But because there is no sound, this simple gesture looks like I'm saying a prayer or sign of admiration.
When I think about this simple act of homage to my dear student, I can't help but smile, especially since I come from a place where you keep your feelings to yourself and religion and politics do not cross over to business and education. But as an artist, one really must spread guts, ideals, and intimate thoughts our for public display. I am working on it. My newer paintings speak of my aging parents and the need to hold on to their stories and memories. My children are men now, and letting go is so hard. I have downsized my home, but still have boxes of stuff. And time is passing so quickly.
At Fabulon, we are already planning our 3rd annual Souvenirs of Summer show for August. It will speak of the passage of time, the yearning to capture the moment, holding on to things slipping away, that which we worship, long for, or mourn. Homage.
Bee Photograph by Jenion Tyson: on display at Fabulon through the end of April.