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. While these works often hinted at humanity’s complicated relationships with the land and animals we raise, it was not until she began exploring processes such as forest succession, invasive species, surface and groundwater fluctuations and the importance of beneficial insects and arachnids that she built her foundation as an artist and conservationist.
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. In 2015, Koehler was awarded an 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 investigated the ecology of invasive plants in Minnesota. She is also an active member of Project Art for Nature (PAN), a collaborative group of artists and illustrators working to inspire the conservation of nature through art.