AltMFA Visiting Artist+Critic
Julie Heffernan is an American painter whose artwork has been described by the writer Rebecca Solnit as "a new kind of history painting" and by The New Yorker as "ironic rococo surrealism with a social-satirical twist." Writing for The New York Sun, art critic David Cohen says of Heffernan’s exhibition: "These paintings are a hybrid of genres and styles, mixing allegory, portraiture, history painting, and still life, while in title they are all presented as self-portraits." Portraiture is in fact not the dominant subject in Heffernan’s painting at all; she uses the term Self-Portrait to remind herself and viewers that the places and circumstances she invents in her paintings are extremely subjective takes on a world gone awry. While invoking a sense of the possible in these vividly detailed realms she reflects on environmental, (art) historical, feminist, literary, social, and political subjects.
Heffernan received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Printmaking from University of California at Santa Cruz and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree at Yale School of Art and Architecture. She is a Professor of Fine Arts at Montclair State University and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. Heffernan is the founder and editor of the blog Painters on Paintings. Launched in 2016, Painters on Paintings is an ongoing conversation between artists, with over 115 artists having contributed pieces that focus on the work of another artist whose work they are interested in. She has also contributed essays to Art Pulse.
In 2011, Heffernan was inducted into the National Academy of Design in New York and in 2014, elected to the Board of Governors. She was granted a 2021 Fellowship from New York Foundation for the Arts and is a 2017 Fellow of the BAU Institute at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France; was awarded the Meridian Scholar Artist-In-Residence Fellowship from the University of Tampa in Florida and was the featured artist for the 2017 MacDowell Colony. In 2013, Heffernan was awarded a Milton And Sally Avery Fellowship at MacDowell and in 2012, she was invited to be the Lee Ellen Fleming Artist-In-Residence at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. In 2010, she was the Commencement Speaker for the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and in 2009, she was the featured artist at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. A recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a New York Foundation for the Arts grant,
a Fulbright-Hayes grant to Berlin, Heffernan was also a nominee for the "Anonymous Was A Woman" award. Since 1999, Heffernan has had more than 50 solo exhibitions at museums and other venues across the United States and abroad. Her work is represented in 25 museum and institutional collections. She has been represented by Catharine Clark Gallery since 2005.