artist / participant
Mark Moore Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Julie Heffernan, the artist’s third solo show at the gallery. Continuing what has become a hallmark series of self-portraits, Heffernan has developed a unique and fertile visual lexicon, which deftly combines themes of the personal with the political, the universal with the individual, and the familiar with the fantastical.
At the heart of the work is a palpable, grave concern for the environment. Issues of climate change, overpopulation and ecological imbalance are presented in highly ornate, dreamlike tableaux, rife with symbolism and allegorical implication. Although Heffernan’s compositions carry a clear reverence for the style and tradition of historical narrative painting, her imagery is not tethered to a specific genre, period or ideology, but rather blossoms directly from the imagination, expounding on Surrealism’s notion of the subconscious as the architect of reality.
Despite their sobering subject matter, Heffernan’s works are empowered by a sense of cautious optimism, wherein social critique is not the endgame. Rather than focusing solely on the causes and symptoms of our global maladies, Heffernan’s canvases are alive with possibility, imagining creative ways in which we might prevail over our own undoing. The artist states: “The work is a continuation of my interest in climate change and the kinds of changes we are going to have to consider in order to deal with some of its eventualities - perhaps an opportunity for some creativity in how we approach habitats and lifestyles. No more room for wastefulness, but what do we decide to keep and what to get rid of? The figures are now engaged in work of some sort: pulling, dragging, wrestling with materials in order to start the work of change."
Heffernan (b. 1956, Illinois) received her MFA from Yale School of Art (CT), and has been exhibiting widely for the past two decades. She is currently Professor of Fine Arts at Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ. Selected exhibitions include: The Kwangju Biennial (Korea), Weatherspoon Art Gallery (NC), The Me Museum (Berlin), Knoxville Museum Of Art (TN), Columbia Museum Of Art (SC), Milwaukee Art Museum (WI), The New Museum (NY), The Norton Museum (FL), The American Academy Of Arts And Letters (NY), Kohler Arts Center (WI), The Palmer Museum Of Art (PA), National Academy Of Art (NY), McNay Art Museum (TX), Herter Art Gallery (MA), Mint Museum (NC), Virginia Museum of Fine Art (VA), and Oklahoma City Museum of Art (OK) among numerous others. Her work has also been acquired by many of the institutions listed above.