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Julie Heffernan Self Portrait as Wunderkabinett

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    The Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC is a timeless building and a work of art itself. The building was designed with a contemporary style and is an outward expression of its artistic, belongings inside. I visited the Museum on Tuesday, July 02, 2013, at around 2 in the afternoon.

    I was within the museum for about 2 ? hours, observing the exhibits. The building itself exceeded my expectations, but the inside took my breath away. Every detail within was elaborate and intended with thought; from the glass windows, to the straight lines of the architecture, to the overlooked design of the staircases.The museum was not extremely busy.

    The museum was occupied with an adequate amount of people, creating a comfortable, quiet, atmosphere to enjoy the art. I was able to enter the museum without feeling bombarded, compared to most popular attractions. The displays were prearranged for pleasant viewing, easy to maneuver around, and located suitably by collection and design. The ambiance and setting was much more peaceful than I expected.

    I particularly enjoyed the visit to the Mint Museum and am now encouraged to visit other art museums!Julie Heffernan commissioned the painting, Self Portrait as Wunderkabinett, in 2003. This piece of art particularly stood out to me above all the paintings exhibited at the Mint Museum. The artist produced the painting on canvas with oil paints. The self portrait depicts a whimsical and fantastical setting of what appears to be one woman, multiplied into several bodies.

    The women are gathered within a grand ballroom, surrounded by past paintings by the artist, fashioned in a 16th century setting. The women are fashioned with vast skirts, constructed of fruits and flowers.The ceiling contains a beautiful and lavish ceiling canvas along with intricate details of the room’s architecture. The magical, yet mysterious fairy-tale being exposed, shows many birds flocking in the room, cascading to the ceiling and out of the painting.

    The artist creates a focal point with the only woman whose face viewers cannot see. The women’s dress appears to have caught on fire and produces luminosity around the chandelier, forming a shadow within the corners of the room, which brings the viewers eyes from the main woman, up to the chandelier, as shown in the picture to the left.Heffernan’s paintings express her untamed imagination with majestic fantasy, dream-like subjects, yet she paints with a very classic technique. When I first viewed The Self Portrait as Wunderkabinett, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel came to mind.

    Michelangelo illustrates the desire and describes the oneness that humans anticipate with God through salvation. The artists painting technique is traditional, with the sensible and realistic proportions of the human body, the distinguishing lines, the application of shadow, the intricate detail on every object within the painting, and the use of traditional complementary color pairs.Julie Heffernan was born in 1956. She was raised in Northern California but resides in Brooklyn, New York today.

    She received a BFA from the University of California, Santa Cruz and incredibly, her Masters of Fine Art in Painting from the Yale School of Art. A significant moment that contributes to her talent as an artist was in 1986 where she lived in Berlin for two years, studying and practicing constantly during her stay. Her process for creating a new piece is unconventional compared to the cautious preparation that most artists use.She speaks out on a process called “image screening”, which consists of visualizing mental pictures, somewhat in a day dream, which she jots down to later use as her new content.

    This setting allows Ms. Heffernan to bring her fantasies to life for others and allows her audience to see a reflective, deeper, representation of herself. Ms. Heffernan’s has based all of her work as self-portraits.

    The artist most always depicts a woman at the center of her paintings; herself. Most of her work features herself conveyed with random objects in a figurative manner.Her paintings defy most viewers’ expectations of what art is and certainly sets her apart from other artist. Her creations include an eccentric combination of unusual style and elaborate images.

    Most of her paintings that I have viewed online and as well as at the museum have contained a serene, quiet, and chimera illustrations. She creates a sense of familiarity, yet entices viewers to question the enchanting and intriguing viewing experience. One of the great influences, along with birth of her “image screening” technique, was within her childhood of being raised Catholic.She was frequently surrounded by influential, powerful, religious images and sculptures, which triggered her inspiration and creativeness for always including the presence of imagination within her work.

    I was attracted to the Self Portrait as Wunderkabinett by Julie Heffernan by the inimitability and sensuousness. I was enraptured by questions of what is this, why did she create this, what it is trying to say, what is happening, and what is the deeper meaning behind this painting, or if any.Her painting offers a sense of child-like qualities, with no planning and a sense of disarray. I am also appreciative of her choice of material; traditional materials of oil and canvas which usually is produced to create great format, multifaceted works of art.

    I like her use of chiaroscuro within the natural and realistic settings that she places her characters in. Overall, Julie Heffernan creates beautiful, piercing, and mind-provoking stories within her art pieces that encourage femininity and empower eccentric and unconventional artists to create!BibliographyWood, S. (n.d.

    ). Retrieved from Art Slant: http://www.artslant.com/ny/artists/rackroom/5764 Zeka, M.

    (n.d.). Retrieved from Mark Moore Gallery: http://prod-images.exhibit-e.com/www_markmooregallery_com/Statements_Julie_Heffernan_low_res.pdf

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    Julie Heffernan Self Portrait as Wunderkabinett. (2017, May 28). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/julie-heffernan-self-portrait-as-wunderkabinett/

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