Julie Heffernan: Everything That Rises

  • Jan 22, 2006 – Apr 16, 2006
Julie Heffernan, "Self-Portrait with Birds in My Fingers", 2005, oil on
canvas, 67 x 57 in. Museum purchase with funds from the Benefactors
Fund, 2005.


Julie Heffernan: Everything That Rises is the second in this year's Falk Visiting Artist exhibitions and features eight of the artist's large-scale self-portrait paintings. Heffernan borrows upon a range of art historical references including Flemish landscapes, 17th century portraiture and Rococo interiors. Her consummate craftsmanship evokes the work of the old masters, yet her paintings are fully contemporary in addressing issues of gender, class structure, and personal narrative.

In many of her recent paintings, Heffernan's complex dramas take place within lavish and clearly upper class drawing rooms decorated with magnificent mantelpieces and crystal chandeliers. In other works, her self-portraits pose before damask draperies or within moody landscapes. In Self-Portrait as Netherworld (2004), the artist's presence is represented as a specter among a flock of birds and a smoldering ring of fire. In Self-Portrait with Birds in my Fingers (2005), which was purchased by the Weatherspoon last year, Heffernan assumes the sinuous pose of a Botticelli woman, here with birds laced through her fingers and clothed in a spectacular skirt of pink roses.

Julie Heffernan was born in Peoria, Illinois in 1956, and received her MFA in 1985 from Yale University. She is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards, including a Fulbright-Hayes fellowship and grants from both the National Endowment for the Arts and New York Foundation for the Arts.

A fully-illustrated catalogue features an introduction by the show's curator, University at Albany Art Museum Director Janet Riker, and essays by novelist A.S. Byatt, and artist and writer David Humphrey. “Everything That Rises” is a collaborative effort between the University at Albany Art Museum and the Weatherspoon Art Museum. After its premiere at the Weatherspoon, an expanded version of the show will travel to Albany, the Columbia Museum of Art in South Carolina, and a possible other venue.

Organized by the University Art Museum, University at Albany, State University of New York and the Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Greensboro. 


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