Akin to Magical Realism, Julie Heffernan’s lush self-portraiture utilizes a myriad of art historical references to present a sensual interior narrative, a self-allegory whose half- hidden political agenda is the literal background of the paintings. The dark, Grimm fairy tale-like undercurrent transforms her aristocratic, operatic portraits into a contemporary vanitas or memento mori, acting as both a stylized fantasy and a Bosch-like warning.
Heffernan (b. 1956, Illinois) received her MFA from Yale University School of Art (New Haven, Conn.), and has been exhibiting widely for the past two decades. Selected exhibitions include those at the Korean Biennial; Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, N.C.; Tampa Museum of Art, Fla.; Knoxville Museum of Art, Tenn.; Columbia Museum of Art, S.C.; Milwaukee Art Museum; The New Museum, New York, N.Y.; Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Fla.; American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, N.Y.; Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisc.; Palmer Museum of Art, University Park, Penn.; National Academy Museum, New York, N.Y.; McNay Art Museum, San Antonio; Herter Art Gallery, Amherst, Mass.; Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, N.C.; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; and Oklahoma City Museum of Art, among others. Her work has also been acquired by many of the institutions listed above.—markmooregallery.com