New York City-based artist Julie Heffernan crafts oil paintings on canvas that depict lush backdrops and occasionally, injects the artist herself into fantastical narratives and allegories. However, much of the recent work shown here pulls the camera back for a holistic view into fictional worlds. The artist last appeared on HiFructose.com here.
One of the more intriguing parts of how the artist depicts structures occupied by her fictional beings is how they’re integrated into wooded backgrounds or other overgrown, natural settings. It’s not that these dwellings, like the one depicted in Camp Bedlam, are pristine; part of the absorbing nature of her worlds is how lived-in they feel.
Heffernan likens the journey through one of her pieces to the beloved children’s game Chutes and Ladders, with the viewer moving through each portion of the image and its winding paths and obstacles. Though, there may be an unexpected subtext to the work, as the artist details in a statement: “My recent work is focused on making sense of the world around me after calamities such as Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill. We are slowly making our world unlivable, and I want to bring to the surface the destructive action, waste, and contamination that is generally invisible to us. I need to imagine another way, to outfit myself with signs and banners that speak louder than I can, to envision how we might remake the world as it is slowly falling apart.”