The Patuxent River Naval Air Museum will be hosting Aerial Inspirations, a nearly two-month-long art exhibition, starting next week.
The art display will feature 17 batiks on silk from Mary Edna Fraser, an artist and photographer based in Charleston, S.C. The artworks that will be on display range from 36 inches to 184 inches long.
The exhibition is the largest art show “in scope and in scale,” said Amy Davis, the museum’s administrator.
Noting Fraser is “a very well-known artist” who exhibited at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., Davis said the museum is excited about having Fraser’s artwork on display in Lexington Park.
Most of Fraser’s artwork features an aerial perspective of landscapes that she transcribes with her artistic interpretation onto silk using dyes in the medium of batik.
“I grew up in a flying family,” Fraser said. “My perspective is from the air.”
Growing up in Fayetteville, N.C., Fraser’s father was a flight instructor. The family often flew to Fraser’s grandmother’s home in Candor, N.C., on weekends.
“I was in my mother’s belly” when she first flew in a plane, Fraser said. The family also had night flights “for Dad to relax.”
Fraser believes the vibrant colors used in batik art is what made her fall in love with the art form when she first tried it in college.
“There’s nothing like it,” she said. Since then, she has been a batik artist for more than four decades.
The process of making one piece of art on average takes Fraser a month. Her artwork often features landscapes where water meets land.
Her process usually starts with careful research that involves hiking the terrain or exploring waterways by boat. Then she would take about 500 photos of the area from an aircraft and go home to choose the colors. What follows is a long process of “wax and dye, wax and dye, and wax and dye,” she said.
Becky Benton of St. Inigoes first saw Fraser’s artwork about six years ago.
“They look like maps. They are so colorful and beautiful,” Benton said. “Who would think that art is influenced by flight?”
As a volunteer for the museum, Benton said the hope of inviting an artist like Fraser is to expand the museum’s reach in the community.
“I thought if we had an artist like Mary Edna, then we could draw in different clientele” and more patrons to the museum, she said.
The art exhibition is open to the public from Aug. 23 to Oct. 13 during normal museum hours. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Tuesdays through Saturdays. On Sundays, the museum is open from noon to 5 p.m.
Other than the museum admission fee, there is no extra charge for the exhibition, Davis said.
A reception for Fraser is scheduled to be held on Aug. 23. She will also give a lecture the following day. Ticket prices for the two events range from $10 to $20.
For more information, visit www.paxmuseum.com/events.php.