Boy O Boy II
San Francisco, CA: Catharine Clark Gallery announces Boy, O Boy II, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Julie Heffernan. Ed Osborn’s single-channel video Kingdom is presented in the Media Room. The exhibition dates are September 3 through October 9, 2011. Both artists will be present at the reception on Saturday, September 10, from 4 to 7pm. A reading by author Jennifer Futernick will be held on September 10 at 3pm, preceding the reception. A new print with handwork by Julie Heffernan (published by Electric Works) is also available for prepublication sale through the gallery until September 10.
Julie Heffernan’s third solo exhibition at Catharine Clark Gallery, Boy, O Boy II, presents more than a dozen paintings that delve into those transitional periods of life that are exhilarating and petrifying. Lushly painted, Heffernan’s canvases explore the macro and microcosms of change, from earthly shifts in climate and culture over hundreds and thousands of years, to role-changes in families as members grow older and move away.
Heffernan’s subjects are depicted in strained relationships with their environments. In Self-Portrait with Falling Sky, for example, the protagonist is standing precariously in the midst of a volley of intricately-carved and bejeweled rocks and boulders tumbling down upon her head. The tenuous situation is visually frozen in time by the painting so that the falling rocks are forever suspended around her. A notably new central subject for the artist is the Boy archetype—arriving in the paintings as Heffernan’s son is leaving home. Recognizing the importance of this period in her life, Heffernan patterns herself as a sort of artist-as-Polonius, imparting the physical and intellectual tools she feels her son will need on his journey—books, rope, keys. In paintings like Self-Portrait Picking Up the Pieces, the Boy is carrying the burdens and detritus of old belief systems and idols that have lost their power or been deprived of currency. Saddled with gear in a forest of sign systems that point him in a host of different directions, he is effectively left make his own way. No longer feeling it appropriate to consider those of her son to be “self-portraits”—as her paintings have historically been considered—Heffernan’s Boy archetype still reflects inward, as if her son were an avatar of herself. Julie Heffernan’s series of works have an ever-present awareness of generational inheritance. Will we pass on enough wisdom and means to ensure a successful life on this earth, and what kind of earth will that be?
Her luscious palette and skillful handling of materials compliment a rich subject matter that adeptly explores the fragility of human existence.
Born in Peoria, Illinois Julie Heffernan received her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Painting and Printmaking from the University of California, Santa Cruz and her Masters of Fine Art in Painting from the Yale School of Art. Her work is included in many national and international collections, including the Columbia Museum of Art (Columbia, South Carolina), the Virginia Museum of Fine Art (Richmond, Virginia), Norton Museum of Art (West Palm Beach, Florida), The Contemporary Museum (Honlulu, Hawaii), The Mint Museums (Charlotte, North Carolina), and the Zabludowicz Art Trust (London, United Kingdom). A traveling retrospective of her work, accompanied by the catalogue titled Everything that Rises, was organized by the University Art Museum, University of Albany (Albany, New York) in 2006. Her paintings have been featured in solo exhibitions at institutions such as the Brooklyn Academy of Music (Brooklyn, New York), the Lux Art Institute (Encinitas, California), the John Michael Kohler Art Center (Sheboygan, Wisconsin), the Mint Museum of Art (Charlotte, North Carolina), and University Art Gallery at CSU Stanislaus (Turlock, California). Her work has garnered critical attention in numerous publications including Artforum, Art in America, Artnews, and The New York Times. Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Heffernan now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.