|"Self Portrait as the Thief Who Was Saved", 2011-12 / oil on canvas / 84 X 112 inches|
"Self Portrait Cleaning House", 2012 / oil on canvas / 60 X 68 inches
|"Tree House" 2011 / oil on canvas / 64 x 60 inches|
|"Self Portrait in Overheated Eden" 2013, oil on canvas, 68 x 52 inches|
"Self-Portrait with Falling Sky", 2011 Oil on canvas 68 x 60 inches
Sometimes I come across an artist whose work I've seen before and loved, and then suddenly I wonder, "wait, why haven't I posted this artist before?" and for the life of me I have no answer. But better late than never. Julie Heffernan's work is both personal and mythic. Steeped in the imagery of her catholic upbringing and the great painters of the renaissance she reiterates themes and stories in a seemingly allegorical or symbolic brew. But the symbols are not overt. They're not like hidden clues she's planted there for you to find. She's trying to find them herself in the very act of painting. She describes her process as a kind of weaving of abstract elements until forms and figures begin to appear, foreground and background pushing and pulling against each other until the essential structure of the work is established, at which point she fine tunes the details bringing it to vivid life. The process reminds me of Michelangelo discovering his statues within the marble, or how writers of fiction describe their wonder at watching what their characters do next. The creative process flows from within in ways that cannot be, or ought not to be, consciously controlled. It's instinctive, a part of our unique evolutionary inheritance, the part that makes us humans rather than naked apes. Whether we're making tools or music, telling stories or painting, it is a peculiar human instinct that shuts down the conscious mind blinding us the outside world while we weave another. The results may seem like magic to those who haven't honed the skill. Julie Heffernan has, and she produces wonders.
You can see her work at the following galleries and their websites:
Mark Moore Gallery in New York
Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco
PPOW Gallery in Los Angeles
And theres's a nice fairly recent interview with the artist on the site hyperallergic.