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Self Portrait as Wunderkabinett

Julie Heffernan (American, 1956-)

Created: 2003
Materials:Oil on canvas
Dimensions: H 82" x W 58" x D 2"

Museum Purchase: Exchange Funds from the Gifts of Mrs. John White Alexander, Mr. and Mrs. J. Herbert Bridges, Mrs. Addison Reese, The Mint Museum Auxiliary, Dr. and Mrs. George T. Mims, and Harry and Mary Dalton. 2004.39

“Haunting and enchanting and eerie are wonderful words for getting a sense of how my paintings affect people, but I don’t drive or steer the work to any particular outcome.”

Julie Heffernan’s elaborate, ornate interiors reference the style and manner of Northern Renaissance and Baroque painting with dynamic, intricate compositions that meld portraiture, allegory and still life. Heffernan has been creating these allegorical self-portraits for more than 15 years, exploring what she refers to as her “second self.” Referencing Surrealist painters such as Dorothea Tanning (born 1910) and Leonora Carrington (born 1917) who utilize extraordinary iconography and self-portraiture, Heffernan portrays herself in various guises to discuss issues of identity – her own and that of women in general. Influenced by psychoanalysis and the unconscious, Heffernan creates a world that reveals a complex and multilayered psychological landscape.