Feature Articles

November 2011

NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, NC, Offers Works by Mary Edna Fraser

The NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, NC, will present the exhibit, Aerial Inspirations: Batiks on Silk by Mary Edna Fraser, on view in the Museum’s Nature Art Gallery, from Nov. 4 - 27, 2011. A reception will be held on Nov. 4, from 6:30-8:30pm.

The exhibit features more than 20 silk batiks by South Carolina textile artist Mary Edna Fraser. This exhibit is a complement to the Museum’s Special Exhibit, Our Expanding Oceans: The Blending of Art and Science, a collaboration between Fraser and Duke scientist, Dr. Orrin Pilkey. Our Expanding Oceans closes Sunday, Nov. 6, making the opening weekend of Fraser’s gallery exhibit a great opportunity to view both.

Working from an aerial perspective, Fraser transcribes the landscape onto silk panels using dyes and the ancient art form batik. She uses maps, charts, satellite imagery and aerial photographs to identify natural features of visual interest. An accomplished photographer, Fraser often takes her own aerial photographs from her grandfather’s vintage 1946 Ercoupe plane with her brother as pilot.

Once the design is imagined she chooses colors that are an emotional rather than a realistic response to the subject. Her compositions are influenced by Japanese wood block prints from the Edo period, impressionist and modern art, and her own memories and intuition. Batik is a very slow process that allows Fraser the time to “meditate on thoughts feeding into the artwork.” Her goal is to evoke a sense of place that differentiates locations.

Fraser has won numerous honors and grants and her work has been exhibited and commissioned worldwide. She has been awarded several high profile commissions for public spaces where she created large-scale works including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). She has exhibited continuously since the mid-80s here and abroad. In 1994, she became the first woman to be honored with a solo exhibition at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Duke University, Emory University and the National Science Foundation have also exhibited her work.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences documents and interprets natural history of the state of North Carolina through exhibits, research, collections, publications and educational programming.

For more information about the Nature Art Gallery, call 919-733-7450, ext. 369 or visit (www.naturalsciences.org/store/nature_gallery.html).

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