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'Eileen Hogan: Personal Geographies' reveals the beauty behind garden fates
Eileen Hogan, Chelsea Physic Garden 2, 8 September 2016, 2018, oil, wax, and charcoal on paper, mounted on board, Collection of the artist.

NEW HAVEN, CONN.- The Yale Center for British Art is presenting the work of English artist Eileen Hogan (b. 1946). 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.

Eileen Hogan: Personal Geographies 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.

Hogan resides in London, and in recent years, her practice has been inspired by both public gardens and more private enclosed green spaces within the Greater London area. She depicts the well-known Kew Gardens and Chelsea Physic Garden, as well as places off the beaten track, such as Dalston Eastern Curve and Kings Cross Skip Garden. The artist’s images are vivid expressions of her engagement with the natural world, and with sites that have a richly autobiographical subtext.

Hogan’s association with the conceptual artist-poet Ian Hamilton Finlay and her repeated visits to Little Sparta—the garden Finlay created with his wife, Sue, near Edinburgh, Scotland—sparked her interest in formal portraiture. Having portrayed Finlay in his remarkable garden, she went on to develop a series of emotionally moving portraits of famous figures, including His Royal Highness (HRH) The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, as well as paintings of veterans of the Second World War, which are included in this exhibition. Many of Hogan’s portrait sittings have taken place during oral history recordings with her subject and in the presence of the oral historian—a pioneering approach that alters the dynamics of the encounter as well as the resulting work.

Eileen Hogan: Personal Geographies 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.

The exhibition is accompanied by a book with the same title, published by the Center in association with Yale University Press. This beautifully illustrated catalogue features an introductory essay and additional texts by Fairman, with complementary essays by Hogan, and the distinguished scholars Duncan Robinson, Roderick Conway Morris, Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, and Sarah Victoria Turner, as well as photography by Sandra Lousada.

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