Stunning Dyed Silk Art Evokes the Slow Tragedy of Climate Change


All Images Courtesy of Mary Edna Fraser

Perhaps the best way to alert the public to the importance of sustainability is visual representation of environmental degradation. We've featured some fantastic photography of industrial pollution and melting glaciers, but artist Mary Edna Fraser does something different. Fraser works with aerial and satellite photographs of at-risk landscapes, transferring them onto dyed silk, called batik.


In batik form, the photos lose their concreteness, but the resulting abstraction gives Fraser's work a unique look. Each print takes around a month to produce, from the photography of the landscape (which Fraser does herself, in a 1946 Ercoupe plane piloted by her father or brothers) to the final application of the dye.

The slowness and care that go into each work reflect the gradually encroaching specter of climate change. In her artist's statement, Fraser explains:

The slowness of the unforgiving medium of batik gives me time to meditate 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.

The prints featured here are part of Fraser's "Our Expanding Oceans" series, focusing on the major threat posed by globally rising sea levels.

The series was made for an exhibition of the same name at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. The exhibition was accompanied by a book by Dr. Orrin Pilkey, Global Climate Change: A Primer, which features Fraser's work.









Fraser has also produced prints of the Great Barrier Reef, hurricanes, the Amazon, Boston, Charleston, and Venus. You can find all of her work on her website.

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More environmentally conscious art:
Man and Nature: Art in the Age of Climate Change
Climate Change Art: Art of a Changing World
Painting a Darker Shade of Green: The Revolutionary Power of Art

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