Artist and naturalist J.J. L’Heureux has traveled to Antarctica seventeen times since 2000, documenting the landscape, the creatures that live there, and attempts at human habitation. She recently returned home to open several exhibitions at museums and galleries across the United States.
J.J. L’Heureux is a visual artist based in Venice, CA who makes documentary-style photographs, as well as paintings and collages. She is an environmentalist who is interested in the micro and the macro. This has led her to photograph both near and far — the community around her Venice Beach studio and the exotic Antarctic landscape.
In 2000, L’Heureux made her first foray to Antarctica and returned every year thereafter, accumulating a huge archive of digital images that range from close-ups of albatross and penguins to expansive shots of the Ross Ice Shelf, as well as more intimate pictures of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s hut at Cape Royds. L’Heureux initially traveled to Antarctica to photograph the patterns of ice and snow as source material for a series of abstract paintings. She was seduced and intrigued by the beauty of the white on white wilderness and realized there were more aspects of the landscape that attention must be paid to; she then expanded her project to include photographing Antarctica’s environs, wildlife, and history.
L’Heureux is a naturalist and true adventurer. Her numerous photographic series include images of penguins, seals, and polar bears in the Arctic, along with photographs of the people she encounters on her expeditions. To travel so far and endure harsh conditions takes a seasoned traveler, and if L’Heureux was not that before her first journey she has certainly become one.
In order to make the photographs included in her vast and amazing archive, she experienced Antarctica as a passenger on a Russian icebreaker, participated as an art and photography lecturer on adventure cruises and a small motor sailor, the Golden Fleece, circumnavigating South Georgia Island. L’Heureux also participated with the South African Penguin Study on Robben Island, South Africa, collecting data that the Marine and Coastal Management Unit of South Africa used to learn about the habits of this endangered species.
L’Heureux’s work has been included in hundreds of national and international solo and group exhibitions since the 1980s. She attended the San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California, the Academy of Art, San Francisco, California, the Parsons School of Design, New York, New York, and Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan.