Leslie Sobel

Artist Statement

Nature, particularly wilderness speaks to me. My work has long focused¬†on human impact on the natural world and especially on issues of water -plentiful or no. I often begin work from aerial images or maps. The works¬†in this exhibition which are aerial focused come from three main sources: a¬†set of antique maps of the Mississippi River, images of the Leelenau¬†Peninsula near Sleeping Bear, and aerial images from NASA‚Äôs collection of¬†astronaut photography. The uniting concept for all are images of places¬†where water or its absence have profoundly shaped the landscape –¬†something I find deeply compelling. Spending a lot time outdoors for me¬†means often spending a lot of time staring at the sky. Daydreaming,¬†watching a storm come barreling down or a beautiful evening.

Unsurprisingly those skies become a big part of my painting. I grew up influenced by abstract expressionism and Asian brush painting. Even when working representationally I aim to work atmospherically and gesturally. I enjoy the physicality of working in encaustic and want that movement and physicality to come through whether I am painting from an aerial or a conventional perspective.

– Leslie Sobel