Exhibition Open: Return of the Western Monarch
The Return of the Western Monarch Butterfly combines science and art for this show, featuring Elizabeth Weber’s ethereal photographs of monarchs and the plants they need to survive, and sharing the actions of local community members working to protect this endangered butterfly. Exhibition educational materials are curated by Audrey Fusco of Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN), Mia Monroe, volunteer with Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, and Ole Schell of West Marin Monarch Sanctuary.
Elizabeth Weber’s photographs are both an expression of reverence and a call to remember the western monarch’s plight as it nears extinction. Habitat loss, overuse of pesticides, and climate change have all contributed to their decline. In August of 2022, monarch butterflies were categorized as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Elizabeth’s photographs marry documentary photography and writing with an ethereal aesthetic. The process of printing in black and white on vellum paper and adding gold leaf creates a physical aesthetic that suggests the fragility of monarchs, speaking to both the fragility of their habitat and the fragility of their existence. It also expresses a feeling of reverence. By removing the magnificent color that monarchs are known by, Elizabeth is asking the viewer to look at them in a new way and to think about what it would mean to lose them from our world.