Emily Zuch was born in Chappaqua, New York. She received a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2008 and an MFA from New York Studio School in 2011. Zuch was granted the Hohenberg Travel Award in 2011 and has attended residencies at Chautauqua, the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, Vermont Studio Center and Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. In 2014, she received a Fulbright Research and Study grant and is currently living and working in Leipzig, Germany.
Zuch paints from installations she creates in her studio. These set-ups involve objects she makes, toys she has had since childhood or has acquired recently, and various materials she comes across. There is an element of narrative in her work, and she is interested in imagery that connects to fantasy and folklore. She constructs characters of all types, some of which appear in multiple paintings. These characters take the form of animals, figures, imaginary creatures, and ambiguous anthropomorphic forms. She sometimes includes elements reminiscent of landscape, such as trees or a river, while some paintings take place in the context of a room. She is interested in the transition between real and imaginary worlds that are created by her installations. Zuch is also interested in layers of artificiality, enjoying the kind of joke that is created by painting an object that is a fake version of something in nature. In painting, nothing is real, so it is possible to blur the line between what is artificial and what exists.