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MISSING PIECES: Leigh Martin by Krystle Brewer

Leigh Martin, Tuberosa, fiber

Each living thing, plant or animal, depends on the presence of certain resources to live and flourish in a complicated, yet delicate balance. When one of these components is removed either by shifts in nature or through the intervention of humans, these missing pieces can cause drastic effects. We tend to forget about our interconnectedness with our ecosystem until it has been thrown out of balance to the extent that we see devastating changes. Through the latest work by fiber artist, Leigh Martin, we are reminded of the impact of our practices through the example of the decrease

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in the monarch butterfly population. In Martin’s exhibition Missing Pieces, the endangerment of monarch butterflies is highlighted through an investigation of the milkweed plant. In the spring and fall as monarchs migrate to and from Mexico, they lay eggs on the milkweed, the only plant group upon which the butterflies will lay their eggs and complete their larval stage. Over the last several decades as we have seen an increase in vegetation management near roadways, agricultural growth and development, manicured lawns, and chemical sprays, we have seen a dramatic decrease

in the number of milkweed plants, and by extension, a decrease in monarchs. “Missing Pieces is a study on the phenomenon of cause and effect in nature, and the way our interactions with and management of our environment can dismantle ecosystems by removing components of a niche—pieces upon which other pieces rely,” says Martin. By trading milkweed in favor of curb appeal, people are removing a crucial piece upon which monarchs depend for survival of their species. “Few probably predicted when vegetation management was evolving into the practices

Art Focus Oklahoma July-August 2016  

Art Focus Oklahoma July-August 2016

Art Focus Oklahoma July-August 2016  

Art Focus Oklahoma July-August 2016