Emily Jay (Spring 2009, Late Spring 2012, and SACI Teaching Assistant in Photography 2013-14) has joined Ian Breidenbach as a partner at The Neon Heater gallery, running and curating monthly exhibitions with a focus on conceptual and installation based works, contemporary photography and painting trends, and video and new media. After having a show of her work in the space in 2016 (which she says "in a veiled way explored my relationship to the city of Florence"), Emily was invited to join the team. Beyond the gallery itself, the duo behind The Neon Heater also boasts a brand new zine press, Neon Temple Press, as well as a "Hive", a network connecting artist-run spaces across the United States.
Emily explains, "The goal, for Ian and me, is to bring contemporary art to places that don't have access to it normally (like where we are, in rural northwest Ohio)." She goes on to describe how their approach challenges "art world/juried show rat race", aiming to create a space for artists, themselves included, "to really explore [their] visions to most efficiently get meaningful art out into the world."
We also checked in with Emily about her current art practice, which often takes shape as photography and poetry books, and her long-time relationship with Italy. Despite a recent challenge she set for herself to stay away from Italy for a while, she explains, "Italy is an Axis Mundi for me. It's a reflective ground, a place where I can see myself and the world around me more clearly. It's a place that my work will always come back to, because it's a part of the fabric of my own story. And so I'm always sort of balanced and pulled between Italy and Ohio."
To see more of Emily's work and learn more about her practice, visit her website.