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Mennello Museum of American Art presents "When the Water Rises: Recent Paintings by Julie Heffernan"
Installation view.


ORLANDO, FLA.- The Mennello Museum of American Art is presenting the work of Julie Heffernan in a solo exhibition, When the Water Rises: Recent Paintings by Julie Heffernan. The exhibition is on view from March 23 through June 10, 2018.

Heffernan's recent paintings create alternative habitats in response to 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 feckless activity, violence, failure, and redemption. Heffernan tends these alternative environments to safeguard bounties we cannot live without. In other moments, she names 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.

Shannon Fitzgerald, Executive Director, states: “I am delighted with the opportunity to share the extraordinary paintings by renowned American artist Julie Heffernan, who has long revisited art history and cultural history to address urgent social, political, and environmental concerns in epic scenarios. Heffernan’s work is provocative, lush, wondrous, and commanding as it lures, seduces, and warns with a prophetic and personal vision that yields a timely universality. She considers the gaze, the female body, family, home and nature—and most, poignantly in this recent series—water. This exhibition shares a powerful punch through beauty—a gift distinct to Heffernan’s visual vocabulary and large-scale execution as the micro merges with the macro in daunting other-world environs, yet as recognizable as our own, troubled, threatening, and urgent situation.” She continues, “I am pleased to present this work in Orlando, as we think about water in our own community especially after experiencing hurricane Irma and Maria and the lasting devastating effects on our community and environment.”

As an American painter, Heffernan’s work has been described by the writer Rebecca Solnit as "a new kind of history painting" in her essay entitled “Dandelion Clocks and Time Bombs” accompanying Heffernan’s exhibition Sky is Falling in 2013 and by the New Yorker as "ironic rococo surrealism with a social-satirical twist."

Heffernan has exhibited widely for the past two decades. Selected exhibitions include those at The Korean Biennial (Korea), Weatherspoon Art Gallery (NC), Tampa Museum of Art (FL), Knoxville Museum Of Art (TN), Columbia Museum of Art (SC), Milwaukee Art Museum (WI), The New Museum (NY), The Norton Museum (FL), The American Academy of Arts And Letters (NY), Kohler Arts Center (WI), The Palmer Museum of Art (PA), National Academy of Art (NY), Mcnay Art Museum (TX), Herter Art Gallery (MA), Mint Museum (NC) and Virginia Museum of Fine Art (VA), and Oklahoma City Museum of Art (OK) among numerous others.

The exhibition, organized by the LSU Museum of Art, will travel throughout 2018, to venues including Scarfone/Hartley Gallery at The University of Tampa, Tampa, Florida; The Mennello Museum of American and Public Art, Orlando, Florida; Palmer Museum of Art at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach, Virginia.

When the Water Rises is a collaboration between the LSU College of Art + Design and LSU Museum of Art. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with essays by curator Courtney Taylor, art critic and writer Eleanor Heartney, and LSU Professor of Art Kelli Scott Kelley.

Heffernan received her MFA in Painting from Yale and a BFA from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Heffernan has received numerous grants including an NEA, NYFA, and Fullbright Fellowship and is in the collection of major museums including the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. She is represented by P.P.O.W in New York and Catharine Clark in San Francisco. Heffernan is a Professor of Fine Arts at Montclair State University.





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