San Francisco, CA: Catharine Clark Gallery presents "Waters Rise", a solo exhibition of new work by Julie Heffernan on view November 5 – December 23, 2016. The exhibition features paintings in which Heffernan attempts to imagine how humans might inhabit a future world radically re-shaped by climate change. Heffernan’s work is complemented by a media room exhibit featuring videos by Teresa Braun, and a viewing room presentation of photographs by Ellen Kooi. Heffernan and Braun will be present for an opening reception
on Saturday, November 5, from 3 – 5 pm, with artist talks at 2:30pm.
Heffernan’s paintings offer evocative depictions of cataclysmic environments in which the familiar immediately becomes strange: mattresses and household appliances are repurposed for makeshift architecture; branches and roots become entangled with human forms; and suburban houses are renvisioned as tree-top perches for scavenging birds of prey. Often monumental in scale, the intricate visual narratives depicted consider the tensions between the apocalyptic and the bucolic, figuration and landscape, and the precarity of preserving nature in a culture marred by mass consumption, pollution, and oppression. At the same time, Heffernan’s work suggests the possibility for radically inventive life-worlds that encourage hybridity over hierarchy and co-existence over dominance. By imagining a return to a society where our most basic needs – shelter, warmth, intimate connection – rely on harmony and accord, Heffernan compellingly posits that “such scenarios could mark the unleashing of incredible creativity in us, as we re-learn skills long forgotten, like climbing trees, building shelters and meting kindness.” Her canvases, in turn, powerfully suggest a future where ingenuity can overcome adversity, and where creativity can affect our chance for survival.
Teresa Braun’s video work, by comparison, draws on complex genealogies and histories of ancestral ritual informed by her Mennonite upbringing in rural Canada. Her media room presentation at Catharine Clark Gallery features three new videos inspired by family lore about three sisters whose bodies are buried underneath a tree, their bodies becoming taken in and entangled with the roots. Her work invites consideration of reproduction, mortality, and the continued hold of familial bonds across generations.
Ellen Kooi’s newest presentation of photographs, "Crossings", present near-cinematic images of young women in various natural and built environments. Her vividly rendered photographs are suffused with untold narrative and exhibit an intimacy that belies their careful orchestration and composition.