Artist and researcher, Eileen Hogan (b. 1946), has been working as artist -in-residence at The Garden Museum, London since 2016. The museum was founded in 1977 and is home to the church of St Mary’s, the final resting place of Britain’s first great gardener and plant hunter, John Tradescant (c. 1570-1638). Perhaps best known for her arresting portraits and paintings of London’s public spaces, Eileen has captured the imagination of her audiences without fail during her longstanding, impressive career. As the official artist-not-in-residence (the museum has been closed since October 2015 for the Heritage Lottery funded redevelopment project), Eileen has responded to the challenges involved in being simultaneously present and not present in a highly original way.
The artist has created a sequence of twelve oil paintings, each depicting a unique green space located in London, chosen from proposals submitted by ninety invited individuals. Each person submitted one proposal of a green space along with a brief description of why that particular place was significant to them. The descriptions offer an insight into the sheer diversity of green spaces across in the capital, from the comfortingly familiar to the mysterious and secretive.
Eileen is a highly perceptive artist. Her interpretations of the selected spaces are sensitive and thought provoking. Each painting reveals the significance of the space it depicts, captures features such as its ‘horticulture, history, personal psychology, private myth, romance, and eccentricity’, and harnesses the essence and very particular qualities that make the places so affecting.
A strong meditative current runs through the paintings, touching on ideas that preoccupied the painter in earlier works: the notions of presence and absence, familiarity and strangeness, openness and privacy. From the tranquil setting of the Chelsea Physic Garden, to the Georgian grandeur of Chiswick House, and the eeriness of an empty, frost-covered sports pitch in London Fields; each space reflects the beguiling, even visceral qualities that draw us to them.
The painted series will be exhibited alongside other works on paper, photography and facsimiles of the artist’s sketchbooks in an exhibition opening at the Garden Museum in May 2017.
Please follow this link for more information: http://www.gardenmuseum.org.uk/page/sanctuary-green-spaces-and-social-value
A symposium entitled ‘Sanctuary – Green Spaces and Social Value’ will be held on Thursday 4th May 2017 in conjunction with the exhibition. It will shed light on themes related to the artist’s work, further emphasising the importance of green spaces and the biodiverse infrastructures in urban cities. Speakers will include Eileen Hogan, Adam Phillips, James Peto and Jo Gibbons.
Tickets for the event can be booked in advance online via the Garden Museum’s website:
Eileen Hogan has also received the honour of exhibiting her work in a comprehensive retrospective exhibition at the Yale Center for British Art in the USA. The exhibition is scheduled to open in 2019.