Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston, SC, Offers Lecture by Julie Heffernan – Mar. 17, 2012

The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston School of the Arts will host a lecture by Julie Heffernan, Associate Professor of Fine Arts at Montclair State University in Upper Montclair, NJ, on Saturday, Mar. 17, 2012, at 3pm in Room 309 of the Simons Center for the Arts located at 54 St. Philip Street in downtown Charleston, SC. Heffernan has been chosen as the official guest juror for the “Young Contemporaries 2012” exhibition that opens with a reception and awards ceremony on Thursday, Mar. 29, 2012, from 5-7pm. Both the lecture and the opening are free and open to the public.

Each spring, current College of Charleston students may submit recent work to the “Young Contemporaries” annual exhibition, giving them an opportunity to exhibit their work in a professional gallery setting. Works are available for sale at the discretion of the artist, offering the community an opportunity to purchase artwork by these emerging artists. “Young Contemporaries 2011”, along with the concurrent “Salon des Refusés” exhibition, will open with a reception and awards ceremony on Thursday, March 29 from 5-7pm and run through Tuesday, April 28. “Young Contemporaries 2012” is co-produced by the Visual Arts Club, Department of Studio Art and the Halsey Institute. The exhibition is made possible by generous support from Lee and Ann Higdon. Admission is free and open to the public.

In her lecture, Julie Heffernan will talk about her work and process. Heffernan says, “I began painting in the 70’s when Pop had taken over figuration and Minimalism had supplanted Abstract Expressionism. I needed to re-engage the emotions in art, and eventually went my own way, going forward by looking back to the long history of imagery that was still as ripe and potent as ever to me—the golden persimmons of Spanish Still Life Painting, the skirts of Ter Borch, the wigs of Las Meninas. Seen through the lens of feminism, those early paintings had an erotic charge that I mined for my own purposes. What kept me interested in painting throughout the ironic 80’s were the pictures that would stream into my brain just as I was falling asleep. They were like a movie in my mind that I would close my eyes and watch. I began to jot down quickly in paint some of these individual “film stills”, and then to use them in larger still life paintings as mini “projections” onto enlarged apples and pears. I came to see these thought bubbles as accumulated features of an interior self, and as a way into painting a different kind of self-portrait, one more akin to a truer self, conceived without the distortion of a mirror.

“Gradually I was able to pierce the space of the still life and find landscapes that mirrored a similar interiority. They invited you to enter them more and more deeply in a kind of quintessential feminine space. After awhile I came to understand that this “image streaming”—a sort of mental montage—as well as designs I would find in those landscapes, were making a peculiar kind of sense out of my experiences, giving me the components in abstract form to tell my own story.”

“I became very interested in what narrative painting could mean in an age where we look to film and video for our visual stories. When any kind of story is well told the reader or viewer will, at a point, find herself in the realm of the imagination as the so-called “real” world falls away and we take on the identity of the character around whom the events take place, assuming his or her body. This is the fundamental phenomenon that is central to a good narrative—the assumption of the body of another, the empathic event. Empathy is, at its core, imagination.  Our minds create the linkage that allows us to care. In painting, this occurs through the tactile imagination, the ability to feel through our eyeballs.”

Julie Heffernan, this year’s guest juror for “Young Contemporaries”, is an Associate Professor of Fine Arts at Montclair State University in Upper Montclair, NJ. She received her MFA in Painting and Printmaking at Yale School of Art and Architecture. Heffernan has been actively exhibiting her paintings around the world since 1988 and is represented by PPOW Gallery in New York City, Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco, CA, Mark Moore Gallery in Los Angeles, CA and Megumi Ogita Gallery in Tokyo, Japan. In 2010-11 she had solo exhibitions at PPOW Gallery in NYC, Megumi Ogita Gallery in Tokyo, Japan, and Catharine Clark Gallery in SF, CA.  In 2009-11 Heffernan was invited to participate in 26 group shows including The 183rd Annual: “An Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary American Art” at the National Academy Museum in NYC; “Old School”. At Hauser and Wirth Gallery, London, England and Zwirner and Wirth Gallery in NYC; and “Arcimboldo-Artista Milanese tra Leonardo e Caravaggio,” at Palazzo Reale in Milan, Italy Heffernan was invited to be a member of the National Academy of Art in 2011 and was the 2010 Commencement Speaker at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. She was also invited to be the Clive Distinguished Artist Lecturer at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2010 and the 2009 Spring Season Guest Artist at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music).

Heffernan has received a number of grants and fellowships over the years including a Thomas Bennett Clark Prize from the National Academy Museum, NYC in 2008 and the Thomas R. Proctor Prize also from the National Academy Museum, NYC in 2004; a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship (NYFA), a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and a Fulbright-Hayes Grant to West Berlin.

Heffernan’s work has been published and reviewed in major newspapers and periodicals including The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New York Observer, Artforum, Art in America, Art News, Flash Art, Harpers, The Chicago Tribune and Art and Auction.

The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art is administered by the School of the Arts at the College of Charleston and exists to advocate, exhibit and interpret visual art, with an emphasis on contemporary art.

The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art is a non-collecting contemporary art museum located on the campus of the College of Charleston, on the corner of Calhoun and St. Philip Streets. HICA offers a comprehensive contemporary arts program that is committed to providing a direct experience with art works in various media, in an environment that fosters creativity, innovation, and learning. The Halsey Institute serves as an extension of the undergraduate curricula at the College of Charleston and as a cultural resource for the region by producing exhibitions, lectures and panel discussions, film series, publications, and a comprehensive website. In addition, the Halsey Institute seeks to foster meaningful partnerships with local organizations in order to further the reach of contemporary art within the Charleston community. Admission into the galleries and to most programs is free with the public encouraged to attend.

For further information contact the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art by calling 843/953-422 or visiting (www.halsey.cofc.edu).

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