Art project highlights Oklahoma weather patterns

Posted at 10:23 AM, Nov 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-07 13:04:35-05

Artist Leslie Martin is turning Oklahoma’s love of tracking weather into a new art form.

Her new piece, called “The Weathering Oklahoma Project,” embraces the different weather patterns that move across the state.

“I grew up that way, but didn’t realize how embedded weather is in our culture in Oklahoma,” Martin said.\

Martin is an Oklahoma native now studying in New Mexico for her Masters in Fine Art. For her thesis project she decided to take her hobby of watching how much weather changes and turn it into something visual.

She used a piece of 20 gauge steel to cut out the shape of each 77 counties across the state. From there she went to Facebook to connect with landowners who were willing to participate in the project.

Each piece of metal was then placed on a two-foot rod and hammered into the ground in each prospective county. The hope was to then see how the weather affected each piece of metal.

After three months, she collected all 77 pieces and constructed them into what is now a full art piece in the shape of the state of Oklahoma.

Over those months each piece was weathered differently based on the elevation, soils, and weather conditions that took place.

Martin expected the weather to change the shape and color of the pieces, but she ended up discovering something she already knew.

“I think it draws something about the community of Oklahoma. You have a strong sense of community through the state. Those boundaries we created as people, the county lines, don’t matter. The tornado erases those physical landmarks and we come together as a whole to rebuild."

The art piece will be set up for display at the National Weather Center in Norman, Oklahoma sometime next year. 

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