The Baroque inspired paintings of Julie Heffernan reflect an abundant knowledge of art history and pictorial narrative. Featuring elaborately detailed universes of organic material, the lush imagined spaces in Heffernan’s work are drawn from her own dreamscapes and self-reference, thus prompting the “self-portrait” titles. Repeating patterns and motifs include animals, flowers, feathers, lush greenery, and whimsical maze-like structures. Surreal and at times overwhelming, the compositions often feature a singular human figure—in many instances a portrait of Heffernan herself—intertwined with a myriad of flora, fauna and symbolic objects. Elements of Magical Realism, fairytale, and Bosch-like layering add to the richness and depth of Heffernan’s work, each image a complex and darkly fantastical allegory.
Heffernan has been showing in New York galleries consistently since 1985. Prominent solo shows include P.P.O.W Gallery, New York, Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York, and Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma. Group shows include National Academy Museum, New York, National Museum, Gdansk, Poland, The Aspen Art Museum, Colorado, Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Delaware, Canton Museum of Art, Ohio. In 2006 a traveling retrospective of her work Everything that Rises, was organized by the University Art Museum, University of Albany, New York.