When the Water Rises: Recent Paintings by Julie Heffernan

March 23, 2018 – June 10, 2018.

Julie Heffernan uses the power of paint’s materiality and immediacy in the Mennello Museum’s exhibition, WHEN THE WATER RISES: RECENT PAINTINGS BY JULIE HEFFERNAN. She brings form to the reality of our environmental and sociopolitical problems. This exhibition debuts nine new works by Heffernan.

Heffernan’s work explores the imagery of the mind’s eye to create complex environments. Her recent paintings create alternative habitats in response to the environmental disaster and planetary excess. With rising waters, she imagines worlds in trees or on rafts in which undulating mattresses, tree boughs, and road signs guide the journey. Construction cones interrupt the landscape signaling places to stop, enter tiny interior worlds, and reflect on the human condition—its hopeless activity, violence, failure, and redemption. Heffernan tends these alternative environments to safeguard bounties we cannot live without. In other moments, she names and points fingers to those people and activities implicated in recent calamities of both the physical and socio-political environment. Intricately wrought, Heffernan’s paintings evoke the fantastical allegory of Hieronymus Bosch and the sublime of Thomas Cole and Albert Bierstadt.

WHEN THE WATER RISES: RECENT PAINTINGS BY JULIE HEFFERNAN is organized by LSU Museum of Art, Baton Rouge and curated by Courtney Taylor, Curator, LSU Museum of Art and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog with essays by Taylor, art critic and writer Eleanor Heartney, and LSU Professor of Art Kelli Scott Kelley.

Julie Heffernan, Camp Bedlam, 2016, oil on canvas, 68 x 104 inches. Courtesy of Catharine Clark Gallery.