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Eileen Hogan HRH The Prince of Wales 2016

Professor Eileen Hogan at Yale Center for British Art

Written by John Wallace
Published date 03 May 2019

Recent work by Eileen Hogan, UAL Professor of Fine Art is to go on show in a major exhibition of the artist’s work at the Yale Center of British Art, New Haven, Connecticut.

Eileen Hogan: Personal Geographies will run from 9 May until 11 August and has been curated by Elisabeth Fairman, Chief Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts at the Yale Center for British Art, working collaboratively with the artist.

Eileen’s career as an artist has been entwined with academia and she has a longstanding association with the University of the Arts London, having completed her undergraduate studies at Camberwell College of Arts UAL, where she was later appointed Dean and is currently Professor of Fine Arts.

Eileen Hogan Sketching Chiswick 2016
Eileen Hogan Sketchbook Chiswick 2016

A figurative painter focusing on portraiture and depictions of gardens, Hogan is known for her deft rendering of light in natural settings and for poetic depictions of her sitters. Her work often invokes the passing of time and memory and this exhibition juxtaposes the artist’s preparatory works with complete paintings in oil, wax, and charcoal to convey a sense of her creative process.

The exhibition includes 70 paintings, 20 sketchbooks, and a dozen artist books, many of which are on view for the first time in North America, on loan from private and public collections in the United Kingdom.

The exhibition is accompanied by a book of the same title, which includes a foreword by the Yale Center for British Art’s Director, Amy Meyers, who says:

“Eileen Hogan has clear affinities with two of the oldest and most vibrant painting traditions, landscape and portraiture—and yet few works in her remarkable oeuvre sit comfortably within either.

She describes herself as “an urban- based painter interested in green spaces,” and she is indeed a committed explorer and observer of the natural world, especially where it takes root amidst concrete and city life. But what makes her work so extraordinary is the way she captures the light of those green spaces in her paintings. Similarly, she has resisted identification as a portraitist, but the many depictions of both sitters and herself that she has produced over her career demonstrate an astonishing sensitivity.

Eileen Hogan Sketchbook Kew Gardens 2016
Eileen Hogan Sketchbook Kew Gardens 2016

Reflecting on how this strand of her work developed, Hogan says, “I feel as if I’ve become involved in portraiture by stealth, really. I started getting interested in the idea of portraiture as biography, drawing someone while they were working or giving their oral history, watching them talk about things that matter to them, listening to their voice, seeing how they settle into themselves. And there is something transient in that.”

She often references John Berger (author of Ways of Seeing) “A portrait is the creature of a confrontation, a meeting. A kind of progeniture. Yet what remains, what hangs there on a wall afterwards, is not a presence but a trace. All portraits speak in a past tense. All sitters have walked on.”

Eileen Hogan Sketchbook Tony Leake 2014
Eileen Hogan Sketchbook Tony Leake 2014

Her portraits of HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall demonstrate this “sideways looking,” as she calls it. She asked that both of them busy themselves doing other things while she sketched. Hogan sat on the floor while The Prince of Wales read his correspondence. She says, “I got the feeling of someone who cares enormously about things. My sittings were at Birkhall, on the Balmoral estate, where the gardens are beautiful, and I think the Duchess of Cornwall does the flower arranging, so there’s the echo of a double portrait there.” The exhibition will be preceded

by an opening lecture in which Eileen will explore her commitment to painting and to working figuratively, even during years when both the medium and the approach were considered deeply unfashionable by the dominant sections of the art world.  This program will be live streamed on Wednesday, 8 May at 17h30 (EST) which is 22h30hrs in the UK.

The edited recording will be made available the next day.

Eileen Hogan: Personal Geographies is on until 11 August 2019 at the Yale Center of British Art.

Eileen Hogan HRH The Prince of Wales 2016
Eileen Hogan HRH The Prince of Wales 2016