Through dramatic landscapes and visual narratives of the natural world, printmaker Emily Gray Koehler investigates the places she calls home: North Woods and Great Plains, Farm and City, Michigan and Minnesota.
Growing up on her family’s ancestral farm in the forests of Northern Lower Michigan, Koehler developed a strong connection to the natural world. Always with a sketchbook in hand, the curiosities of the woodlands – from salamanders to samaras – and the activities of the farm inspired her creative endeavors from an early age. After receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with an emphasis in Printmaking from Grand Valley State University, she moved to Minnesota, where she discovered a passion for protecting and preserving the world around her.
Initially, Koehler’s work explored the agricultural world familiar from her youth. These works often hinted at human relationships to the land and the animals we raise. More recently, her work has evolved to largely focus on normally slow natural processes which have been hastened, interrupted or otherwise affected by human actions such as forest succession, the movement of plant and animal ranges, the introduction of exotic species and surface and groundwater fluctuations.
Currently working out of her public studio in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, Koehler has exhibited her art throughout the upper Midwest. Her work is also in public and private collections across the country and in Europe. Most recently, Koehler was awarded a 2015 Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board which aided her in the development of a new body of work entitled The Trespasser’s Garden which investigates the ecology of invasive plants in Minnesota. She is also an active member of Project Art for Nature (PAN), a colaborative group of artists and illustrators working to inspire conservation of nature through art.