AITKIN — Woodland images are the focus for printmaker Emily Gray Koehler in a new exhibit of her work at Ripple River Gallery near Aitkin.

“A Forest for the Trees” opens June 9 and continues through July 4 at the gallery near Bay Lake. A reception to meet the artist is 2-4 p.m. June 12. The public is invited to attend.

Koehler, who was born and raised in Traverse City, Michigan, received her bachelor’s degree in fine arts in printmaking in 2006 from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. After relocating to Minnesota in 2008, she opened her own print studio in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul metropolitan area.

Koehler uses her passion as a gardener and fascination with the natural world to explore themes of environmental and ecological importance through printmaking.

The finished product of artist Emily Gray Koehler 's “The Sisters.” Submitted photo
The finished product of artist Emily Gray Koehler 's “The Sisters.” Submitted photo

Newsletter signup for email alerts

“This forest harbors the magic of life, death and rebirth,” the artist stated in a news release. “A language spoken in insect buzzes and bird chirps, wisps of pollen and chemical exchanges, the scarcity of drought and the bounty of a summer storm. This forest is a microcosm; an analogy for existence from which we have many lessons to learn if only we could see the forest for the trees.”

Using multi-block color reduction woodcuts as well as reduction woodcuts combined with collagraph, Koehler captures the complex mystery of the forest.

“Trees reach forth ever eager for the nourishment of the sky,” she stated. “Light and air transmogrifies into such strong stuff when translated through the cellular mechanisms within a lowly leaf. It is no wonder transcendence is sought under these canopies, at the feet of these monolithic organisms.”

In 2015, Koehler received a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant for development of a body of work titled “The Trespasser’s Garden” which investigated the ecology and natural history of invasive plants in Minnesota. In 2017, Koehler was awarded a Metropolitan Regional Arts Council Next Step Fund grant enabling major equipment upgrades to her Northeast Minneapolis printmaking studio.

Koehler’s work may be found in public and private collections across the United States and in Europe.

Ripple River Gallery is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays.

For more information call 218-678-2575 or email ripplerivergallery@gmail.com.