Eileen Hogan at Little Sparta at The Fleming Collection
“The memory of the place is as important as the place itself,” says English painter and book artist Eileen Hogan. Her new series of paintings and drawings, created between 1998 and 2013, certainly capture the atmosphere and feeling of the late Ian Hamilton Finlay, CBE, and his Scottish garden, Little Sparta.
Hogan has been known to source material from her birthplace of London, where she later studied at various art schools including Camberwell School of Arts and the Royal College of Art. However after visiting Finlay’s garden in Scotland in 1997, it ended up becoming her inspiration for the next 15 years. Its open green spaces are translated into both large masterpieces and small scraps of paper in this exhibition at The Fleming Collection, famous for its focus on Scottish art.
Hogan’s paintings often feature recurring motifs of a trio of beehives and even Finlay himself, and both become vivid features against the big openness of her work. Indeed Finlay allowed Hogan to paint in his garden whenever and wherever she wanted – she even continued after his death in 2006.
The translucency of colour is mesmerising. From a distance her painting may appear to be a watercolour, while on closer inspection it looks to be composed of pastel scratches. In fact the medium is oil. This lack of certainty presents an abstract sense of mood and place rather than a replicated reality. Hogan’s preoccupation with light – representing how it dapples and changes – adds to a feeling of heightened memory within the natural surroundings.
Some of this series might seem a bit uniform. Hogan was after all painting in one garden for 15 years. But there is something fascinating in how she creates and recreates the visual moments from that period of time.
Eileen Hogan at Little Sparta is at the Fleming Collection until 17th August 2013, for further information visit here.
To find out more about Eileen Hogan visit here.