Leslie Sobel, Michigan
“The Climate Change Game”

This is a game with no set rules - the players must decide.  The game consists of a board with images of some of the most vulnerable places on the planet: places at risk of drowning due to rising sea levels, places subject to wildfires because of changes in rainfall.  There are two sets of counters denoting drought and flood in the form of smooth black pebbles and small cardboard boxes filled with wax to sympolize water.  Objective:  save the planet.  Rules?  There are none - we’re figuring it out as we go and if we don’t figure out an answer we lose. 

We have entered into uncharted territory where the future of the planet is at stake in a high-stakes games in which most of us have no counters, no way to spin a spinner or toss dice to influence the outcome.  I invite players to make up rules and maybe even think of ways to take the rules for the game out into the real world.

Artist Statement

I connect deeply with the outdoors. Both emotionally and intellectually my sense of place and our relationship with where we are resonate in my work. Places I’ve walked, hiked, sat, lived or imagined figure prominently in my work. Often they are places that are vulnerable somehow - to climate change, human intervention, invasive species. I aim to preserve, remember, elegize places I love.I often work from aerial sources – satellite and International Space Station images from the NASA website. I start digitally combining images with topographic maps and climate data which I print on my large format archival inkjet printer.My next stage is painterly – using encaustic, oil pastels, and other media. The two-part process of my work integrates technology and nature, echoing my thematic exploration of our interconnected environment. Encaustic lasts for thousands of years with colors remaining vivid and bright, yet the surface is a bit soft and vulnerable. The result is final works both durable and fragile, much like the earth.

Artist Bio

Leslie Sobel received her BFA from the University of Michigan School of Art in 1983. She worked in computer graphics for many years and did Master’s degree work in Interdisciplinary Technology at Eastern Michigan University.

Leslie Sobel's work focuses on the environment and the ways people change, understand and interact with it. Sobel uses a combination of scientific imaging including satellite and photomicrographs, computer code, & maps as well as mixed media with encaustic (wax based) paint to create her work. She co-founded the art alchemists, an artists‘ collective revolving around the use of digital tools in art-making. She was a partner in the Washington Street Gallery for a number of years, teaches many workshops in encaustic and exhibits nationally. She enjoys teaching encaustic and sharing her passion for this intriguing and challenging medium.