Mary Beth Heffernan

Associate Professor, Art History & Visual Arts


  • Office: Mullin
  • Email: heffernan@oxy.edu
  • Phone: (323) 259-2749
  • Website: marybethheffernan.com

Education: B.F.A., Boston University; M.F.A., California Institute of the Arts

Heffernan teaches all levels of sculpture, installation, and hybrid studio/theory courses in photography and visual culture. Her art practice reflects this range of interests, incorporating photography, video, installation, sculpture, and writing to explore corporeality and its relation to images, words, and other representations. For the past 12 years, she has been fascinated by language's ability to construct the body and by flesh that resists assimilation into recognizable categories of meaning.

As such, Heffernan has explored what it means to be embodied, to negotiate a coherent identity. Her most recent work, photographs documenting the memorial tattoos of Marines recently returned from the Iraq war, examines corporeality in the context of masculinity, nationalism, and mourning. Featured in the Los Angeles Times, the work was exhibited in High Desert Test Sites 05 in 2006 and the Torrance Art Museum in 2007, and represented Pasadena City College in the Pasadena Art Alliance's 2007 Festival of Art and Ideas, "Skin." Heffernan has exhibited her work in many cities, including Los Angeles, New York, Austria, Berlin, and Montreal. Her photographs are included in numerous private and public collections, including the UCLA/Hammer Museum; Light Work of Syracuse, NY; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.