The following is a republished press release from the Museum of the Earth and NOT written by the Ithaca Voice … click here to submit community announcements directly to The Voice, or contact us at

ITHACA, N.Y. — The Museum of the Earth is excited to announce the opening of “Mapping the Planets in Silk & Sound”, a multimedia exhibition offering a unique perspective of our universe. Beautiful large-scale silk batiks by artist Mary Edna Fraser are combined with music composed by Mark Mercury and commentary by planetary scientist Ted Maxwell. This exhibit will be on display from September 22 through April 30, 2018, in the Museum’s BorgWarner Gallery.

Provided by The Museum of the Earth.

The large-scale silk batiks by artist Mary Edna Fraser provide insights into the beauty of space through images of celestial bodies, distant galaxies, and the geology of the planets. Fraser is a contemporary artist specializing in batik on silk. The resist dyeing process utilizes multiple layers of wax and dye to create intricate designs, and, in the hands of this master dyer, this ancient art form creates new insights into the majesties of the heavens. Also included in this exhibit are several of Fraser’s monotype prints on paper. Fraser’s artwork has been collected and exhibited worldwide. Hank Burchard of the Washington Post declared that “the batiks amount to visual poetry.” National Geographic, NASA and the National Academy of Science have featured Fraser’s work, as have Duke Museum of Art and The Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, NY. Fraser lives in Charleston, South Carolina and has a gallery at her James Island Creek studio.

Ted Maxwell, Planetary Scientist Emeritus at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM), provides text as the viewer experiences silk galaxies and heavenly bodies of this exhibition. Maxwell has been a Principal Investigator in several NASA Research Programs, and joined the staff in 1976. From 1982 through 1989, Maxwell was Chairman of the Museum’s Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, was Director of the Regional Planetary Image Facility located at NASM, and is a past Chairman of the Planetary Geology Division of the Geological Society of America. From 1989 until 1992, he was Discipline Scientist for NASA’s Planetary Geology and Geophysics Program. 1992 until 1996, he served as the Senior Advisor for Science at NASM, representing the Smithsonian Institution on scientific research in the US Global Change Research Program. Maxwell has continued his planetary research with more than fifty publications in the professional literature and numerous lectures.

The music for this exhibition is “On a Falling Planet”, composed by Mark Mercury and featuring an erhu (Chinese violin), played by Yunhe Liang, set against a backdrop of gentle electronic tones. Los Angeles-based composer Mark Mercury works with a blend of contemporary classical and futuristic electronic music, in which traditional orchestral timbres are fused with newly created, synthesized sounds. Noted for an inventive and dramatic style, Mercury’s composing has been heard around the globe. He has released three albums: The Art of Space, Music of the Domes, and Music from Cycles of Spheres. Also to his credit are soundtracks for film, television, animation, modern dance, ballet, and high-tech multimedia planetariums, including Francisco Martinez Dancetheatre’s Orbital Dances, Ring World for JPL/NASA, and the documentary A Man Called God for Pea Jays, Inc. Fraser began collaborating with Mark Mercury in 1999 producing Cycle of Spheres at the Old City Jail during Piccolo Spoleto 2001.