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Julie Heffernan Exhibits New Self-Portraits in “Pre-Occupations”

In a fantastical style, Julie Heffernan injects the landscapes of her imagination with modern and classical allegory. For her third solo exhibition at Mark Moore Gallery, opening May 7th, she will debut a new series of self-portraits that combine personal with political themes. "Pre-Occupations" continues her previous exhibition (covered here) in both mood and visual lushness, evoking thoughts of the Renaissance but set in the future. Heffernan's use of the word self-portrait is metaphorical here. Rather, traces of her can be found in her maidens' surreal surroundings.

In a fantastical style, Julie Heffernan injects the landscapes of her imagination with modern and classical allegory. For her third solo exhibition at Mark Moore Gallery, opening May 7th, she will debut a new series of self-portraits that combine personal with political themes. “Pre-Occupations” continues her previous exhibition (covered here) in both mood and visual lushness, evoking thoughts of the Renaissance but set in the future. Heffernan’s use of the word self-portrait is metaphorical here. Rather, traces of her can be found in her maidens’ surreal surroundings. Heffernan regularly addresses issues of climate change, overpopulation, and ecological imbalance. This exhibition is characteristic in its presentation of the earth as a rich and fertile place, while also fragile and in need of salvation. She positions her maidens as an Eve-like subject. Eve was responsible for the fall of her paradise, in comparison to the modern sin of humanity destroying our planet. Throughout her 13 paintings, women tend to their damaged world while yearning for survival; they build shelter, gather food, and dress their wounds. Heffernan asks, “No more room for wastefulness, but what do we decide to keep and what to get rid of?” Despite her subjects’ state of despair, they work hard to affect change and in doing so, Heffernan relieves us with a sense of hope.

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