Emily Van Engel was born in Ridgewood, New Jersey. She earned a BA in Economics and French Studies at Wesleyan University and subsequently worked in environmental organizations for nearly a decade in Jackson, WY. Given the enormity and urgency of the ecological crisis, she felt that a personal approach would be more meaningful. She redirected her efforts to visual art that explores our relationship with our environment. She completed a BFA in Painting and Drawing from California College of the Arts, where she painted urban industrial landscapes that speak to how it feels to reckon with the devastating environmental consequences of modern capitalism. As an artist in residence at the Bay Area Bullseye Resource Center, she created glass panels that explore the cognitive dissonance she experiences from living in today’s ecological crisis. She showed this work at Bullseye’s show “In Residence: Bay Area” and at Women Eco Artist Dialog’s (WEAD) juried show “Reclaiming Earth.” Van Engel earned an MFA in Pictorial Art at San José State University, where she made paintings with air pollution sediment. She co-curated “Patterns of Disintegration” at Works Gallery in San José, CA, which also included her air pollution paintings. Most recently her more visionary watercolors that reflect how she’d like to feel personally and in society were included in Richmond Art Center’s online show “This Land Is Me,” which was part of the international series “Extraction: Art at the Edge of the Abyss.”


Photography by Tran Tran