Issue Thirty-Three - Winter 2019
Emily Gray Koehler 's artist statement: When asked how long I’ve been making prints, I stumble. The easiest answer is since I was thirteen, when a family friend invited me to her print studio. It was certainly from that experience that I fell in love with printmaking; however, that doesn’t completely answer the question. Even as a baby, I was fascinated by the impression my hands made in wet beach sand, and the intricate lines that appeared when I pressed a paint covered thumb onto paper. In my earliest art classes, I scratched images into foam plates and printed them like stamps. How long have I been making prints? Well, forever… that is to say, from my earliest memories.
In every print ever made, there is a history of process, a story told through impression. The grain of the wood or the bevel of the copper translates onto paper something of their essence. Wood becomes image, metal becomes paper, stone becomes print. It is in this transmutation of properties that my love of printmaking lies. Just as the mechanisms of printmaking guide my hand, my heart is inspired by the wonder of cycles and processes in nature. The marrying of these two passions, has informed my art as I seek to explore the intersection of humanity and nature in a world where nothing is untouched by man.
After receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with an emphasis in Printmaking from Grand Valley State University in 2006, I moved to Minnesota where I have since established a public studio in White Bear Lake. In the ensuing years, my prints have evolved to explore humanity’s continuing struggle to understand the implications of its own impermanence in an ever-changing landscape. In the Anthropocene, where we influence and affect everything we touch, I believe it will only be through knowledge and creativity that we may learn to coexist with each other and our environment in this new and volatile epoch. To this end, my work dances between two manifestations: heavily researched visual studies of ecology, biology and natural history and intimately spiritual vignettes of the everyday magic of nature. See more of her work at emilygraykoehler.com.