Art News

Julie Heffernan Solos at The Catharine Clark Gallery

artwork: Julie Heffernan - "Millenium Burial Mound", 2010 -  Oil on canvas - 34" x 50"  - Courtesy the Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco, CA. On view in "Boy, O Boy II" until October 29th.

San Francisco, CA.- The Catharine Clark Gallery is pleased to present “Boy, O Boy II”, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Julie Heffernan, on view until October 29th. 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.

artwork: Julie Heffernan - "Intrepid Scout Leader", 2011 Archival pigment print, museum board, glass jewels, gold leaf, metal fittings, PVA glue, acrylic handwork - 36" x 27"- Courtesy the Catharine Clark Gallery.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.

artwork: Julie Heffernan - "Self-Portrait Moving Out", 2010 - Oil on canvas - 54" x 78"  - Courtesy the Catharine Clark Gallery

Established in 1991, Catharine Clark Gallery presents the work of contemporary artists. A wide range of media is represented in the gallery’s program with an emphasis on content-driven work that challenges both the traditional use of materials and formal aesthetics. Catharine Clark Gallery was the first San Francisco gallery to create a dedicated media room, presenting new genres and experimental video art with each changing exhibition.  Exhibitions are hosted  on a six-week schedule and generally feature one or two solo presentations in addition to media room installations.  The gallery regularly participates in national and international art fairs. Housed in a former 1920s farming equipment warehouse, redesigned by Los Angeles-based architectural designer Tim Campbell, Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco, is situated among numerous arts-related landmark buildings in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Neighborhood; it is adjacent to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), the Museum of the African Diaspora (MOAD), near the Contemporary Jewish Museum, and the Museum of Craft and Folk Art, and is housed on the ground floor of the same historical building as SF Camerawork. In March of 2010, the gallery opened Catharine Clark Gallery, New York, a project space in a residential apartment in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. Installations of gallery artists’ work are presented as “pop-up” exhibits at the New York location several times a year. Visit the gallery’s website at …