Mapping the Planets in Silk and Sound


Sea of Serenity
Sea of Serenity, Mary Edna Fraser

Mapping the Planets in Silk and Sound, a multimedia exhibition, offers a unique approach to our corner of the universe: the solar system. Large-scale silk batiks by artist Mary Edna Fraser provide insights into each planet’s personality. Planetary scientist Ted Maxwell of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum provides text as the viewer experiences silk galaxies and heavenly bodies. Music composed by Mark Mercury evokes the majesty of our nine planetary worlds.

Opening Reception: Friday, September 13, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., Remarks at 7:30 p.m.

Special event during the opening reception on Sept. 13: Astronomy Viewing: The Moon, the Planets, and the Stars

As a complement to appreciating the planets through the varied perspectives represented in the exhibition, we invite you to view the planets and the moon at a special astronomy session Friday evening during and after the opening reception. You’ll see what Galileo himself saw, peering through a reproduction of his handmade telescope of 1609. This is the historic instrument that unlocked the door to understanding our solar system as we know it today. Powerful modern telescopes will also show you the wonders of nebulae, galaxies, and other exotic objects in the distant universe.

Three sessions are available. Board a van to the StoGrow astronomy site, with departures from the main entrance of Center for Art and Dance at 8:15pm, 8:45pm, and 9:15pm. These shuttles will return viewers to Center for Art and Dance, after either 30 minutes or 1 hour on site, or as requested.

Physics Colloquium: Wednesday, September 11, 2:00 p.m., Regents Hall 210
Hidden Rivers and Lakes of the Northeast Sahara and Implications for the Origin of Mars Channels
Dr. Ted A. Maxwell, Senior Scientist at the National Air and Space Museum’s Center or Earth and Planetary Studies

Roundtable Discussion: September 12, 7:00 p.m., Center for Art and Dance Room 305 
Mary Edna Fraser, artist; Anne Goodyear, President, College Art Association, Co-Director, Bowdoin College Museum of Art; Dr. Ted A. Maxwell is Senior Scientist at the National Air and Space Museum’s Center for Earth and Planetary Studies; Mark Mercury, composer. Moderated by Brian Borovsky, Department Chair and Associate Professor, Physics, St. Olaf College

Please note: the museum will be closed from October 12-15 for Fall Break.

Mary Edna Fraser writes about her work: “Color is an emotional rather than realistic response, the design often abstracted. The slowness of the unforgiving medium of batik gives me time to mediate on thoughts feeding into the artwork. The goal is to evoke a sense of place that differentiates locations. The exquisiteness of a fleeting moment is captured on silk with dyes, as I attempt to share with the viewer a moment of visual poetry.

A Celebration of the World’s Barrier Islands has been my focus as I travel and photograph. Witnessing their vulnerability and noticeable changes from the aerial viewpoint brings subtle environmental messages through the individual batiks. Current impacts of global change stir my scientific and artistic interest. Images of our solar system and other worlds are a natural extension of this curiosity. The large-scale silks continue to expand with visual knowledge, whether from the small plane or distant space.”

View Mary Edna’s Website