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Julie Heffernan

The swamps are pink with June

February 8 – March 17, 2023

a painting by Julie Heffernan of a woman sitting in a lushly green flower bed, with gems, coins and stars floating over her head

Julie Heffernan (b. 1956)

Self-Portrait as Throne, 2022

Oil on canvas, 72 x 60 in.

a painting by Julie Heffernan of a woman in a large red skirt, sitting in a tree trunk whose branches contain abstract flowers and scenes from art historical paintings

Julie Heffernan (b. 1956)

Spill (Thorn Apple), 2022

Oil on canvas, 70 x 55 1/2 in.

a painting by Julie Heffernan of a topless woman in a dense green forest, whose massive gold skirt opens to expose a lush fern with red berries

Julie Heffernan (b. 1956)

Self-Portrait (Lion Birth), 2022

Oil on canvas, 60 x 52 in.

a painting by Julie Heffernan of a woman in a large red skirt, straddling a tree trunk whose branches contain abstract flowers and scenes from art historical paintings

Julie Heffernan (b. 1956)

Spill (Seed Pod), 2022

Oil on canvas, 46 x 36 in.

a painting by Julie Heffernan of a nude woman whose body is loosely covered by a skirt of tangled branches, a dense bough of apples springs from her head to form an hourglass shape

Julie Heffernan (b. 1956)

Self-Portrait as Hourglass, 2022

Oil on canvas, 72 x 60 in.

a painting by Julie Heffernan of a woman sitting in a lushly green flower bed, with a yellow and red abstract expressionist paint-spill dominating the background

Julie Heffernan (b. 1956)

Spill (Ashdod), 2022

Oil on canvas, 60 x 54 in.

a painting by Julie Heffernan of a woman in a large gold skirt, straddling a tree trunk whose branches contain abstract flowers and different art historical depictions of women

Julie Heffernan (b. 1956)

Spill (Lotus Emergent), 2022

Oil on canvas, 72 x 54 in.

a painting by Julie Heffernan of a woman in the cosmos whose skirt is a landscape full of trees and rivers and waterfalls

Julie Heffernan (b. 1956)

Self-Portrait as Continental Divide, 2022

Oil on canvas, 60 x 52 in.

a painting by Julie Heffernan women climbing a tree with bright orange leaves to escape an alligator, hippo, and a pack of wild dogs circling at the foot of the tree

Julie Heffernan (b. 1956)

Spill (Climbers), 2022

Oil on canvas, 58 x 50 in.

a painting by Julie Heffernan of a woman sitting in a tree over a river whose head is opening and expanding to show a mix of bodies, trees, and flowers

Julie Heffernan (b. 1956)

Self-Portrait as Mad Queen, 2022

Oil on canvas, 96 x 56 in.

Press Release

Hirschl & Adler Modern is thrilled to present The swamps are pink with June, Julie Heffernan’s debut solo exhibition with the gallery. Across fifteen new paintings, the artist’s female protagonists, stand-ins for the viewer and the artist herself, inhabit lush gardens and resplendent trees. Nestled beside blooms of rich color are scenes and depictions from western art history. The Fall of Adam & Eve, Hudson River School landscapes, and portraits of Queen Victoria blossom from expansive branches. In others, dense shrubs grow from under the central figure’s skirt, rooting her to the landscape that surrounds her. Climate activism, feminism, identity and lineage are the major themes of Heffernan’s career and here they entangle in fresh and welcoming ways.

Included here is Heffernan’s newest body of work, her Spill paintings. Born out of the artist’s search for fresh energy in the studio, Heffernan began pouring paint onto canvas to begin each work. The splashes of color that pooled on the surface captured by accident the same energy that she would so painstakingly try to render. Working back into these spills unlocked worlds within worlds, adding a logic and a structure to an otherwise haphazard and random order. The artist herself writes: What I’ve found in the paint spills now is something akin to the chaos I need to describe the actual chaos happening in our environment right at this moment.

Yet, a sense of optimism runs through the paintings, linking them to the Emily Dickinson poem whose line serves as the title of the exhibition. Dickinson writes of the cycles of nature and life, as experienced through her garden, and how out of the bleakest of times things will return to flower and grow. As we continue to push forward through our own dark era, it is good to remember that Spring will always arrive, and for those of us who keep “an Orchis' heart—The swamps are pink with June.”

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