Joseph Heffernan (b.1987) is a Painter from and living in Cork, Ireland. He holds a BA(Hons) from Crawford College of Art and Design,Cork(2009) and later completed an MFA(Fine Art-Painting) at NCAD, Dublin(2016). He has exhibited widely in galleries in Ireland. Solo and 2-person shows include There were Strange Gatherings, RHA, Dublin (2020) and Borderland/Memento, Garter Lane Arts Centre, Waterford(2018). Group shows include the 190th and 189th Annual Open, RHA, Dublin (2020/19), The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart, Mayfield Arts Centre,Cork(2018), The End, Soma Contemporary, Waterford(2016) and Between Here and There, Pallas Projects, Dublin(2014) In 2020 he was awarded the Contemporary Irish Arts Society Award for a work of Distinction. His work is kindly supported by the Arts Council.
Heffernan’s work deals with constructed but ambiguous narratives which are often a rumination on the creative process and deals with themes of absurdity, alienation and identity. It is influenced by various different visual traditions such as the Commedia Del’Arte, Science Fiction and the Absurd Theatre. These narratives rely upon familiar allusions and references but the specifics of the narrative are not readily clear and are left to the viewer to figure out. In this way the images have a a plurality of interpretations and the viewer is an active producer of these interpretations rather than a passive consumer. More recently he has begun to incorporate early cinematic influences into his work such as Film Noir and 50’s melodrama. These influences have been integrated into his practice to inform an ongoing discussion around storytelling within the work and how memory is a form of storytelling which is both internalized and constantly evolving.