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UAL Research Online

Four Squares

Hogan, Eileen (2006) Four Squares. [Art/Design Item]

Type of Research: Art/Design Item
Creators: Hogan, Eileen

‘Four Squares’ is a series of 60 Paintings and a portfolio of prints, exploring how spaces in the public arena are used and interpreted. It represents Hogan’s sustained study from 2000-06 of a quartet of historic London squares: Bryanston, Montagu, Portman and Manchester, and their hidden gardens.

Hogan maintained a rhythm of regular, often daily visits, during which she drew and painted looking outwards at the architecture through the foliage, documenting small changes in light as the seasons progressed and the different character and varying social interaction within the respective spaces. Returning repeatedly to the same vantage points, Hogan made over 100 drawings, paintings and prints which were individually self-sufficient, yet which also referred to one another, creating a larger entity from multiple units.

Hogan’s solo exhibition at The Fine Art Society was accompanied by a publication bringing together a rare combination of informed perspectives united by this project. Christopher Gibbs documented the social and architectural history of the area, an account brought vividly up to date with an essay by the present Lord Portman about his childhood introduction to the district. Rosalind Saville (Director of the Wallace Collection, Manchester Square) and the critic Robin Dutt contributed specialist views on Manchester and Portman Squares, while notes from Hogan’s research diary linked all the texts.

Official Website: http://www.faslondon.com/artist.aspx?id=7070
Additional Information (Publicly available):

Eileen Hogan

Professor Eileen Hogan is a practising artist and researcher who has exhibited extensively in the UK and America. Her art practice includes painting, book works and printmaking. Since 1980 she has been represented by and had regular solo shows at The Fine Art Society, London. Her work is in numerous public collections, among them the British Library, the Government Art Collection, the Imperial War Museum, The Library of Congress Washington DC, the National Library of Australia, Stanford University and the Yale Center for British Art. Commissions and awards include the brief to record the Women's Royal Naval Services for the Artistic Records Committee of the Imperial War Museum, a Churchill Fellowship for research in America, Australia and Japan on new technology and the arts, and an AHRB award for The Poetry Box, investigating the relationship between words and images and the conventions of portraiture. Recent exhibitions include the Yale Center for British Art (which in addition now owns Hogan’s archive relating to The Poetry Box) and the San Francisco Center for the Book

Hogan was a founding member of the Wellcome Trust committee which inaugurated the Sci-Art Awards, and she is a trustee of the Rootstein Hopkins Foundation. Recent and ongoing projects include a series of workshops, funded under the AHRC Landscape and Environment Programme, on art and travel, for the establishment of a new research centre for the study of art and travel at the National Maritime Museum; a study of the role and practice of the artist in relation to charitable giving which, culminated in 2008 with a publication and a conference at Tate Britain, The Art of Giving: the artist in public and private funding, and a six-year project with the Baring Archive at the ING Bank which investigates the relationship between art and money and the way artists respond to and use archives.

Research Statement

My research is mainly located within fine art and theatre. An important strand concerns the various ways that artists, practitioners and students engage with archives, the concomitant impact that collections and archives can have on practice, and how collections and archives can enhance teaching, learning and research environments within higher education. In the text which follows, I am focusing on my activity with three aspects relating to archives and museum collections, The Poetry Box, The Jocelyn Herbert Archive, and The Baring Archive.

The Poetry Box

My interest in this area began in 2003 when I was invited to create a new work in response to a piece in the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Japanese collection. My chosen artifact was a nineteenth century poetry card game, uta karuta, whose origins united a traditional clamshell-matching game with European playing cards. In an echo of the Japanese game I created The Poetry Box by inviting 100 participants to select a poem; the selectors came from a cross-section of ages, occupations and backgrounds and their choices provided a small-scale survey of who was reading which poets at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The Poetry Box comprises cards bearing the first and last lines of the poems chosen by the selectors. On the back of the first-line cards I painted an image relating to the poems, and on the back of the last-line cards a portrait of each of the poets. (The game is to match the first and last lines.) I was able to secure sittings with the majority of living poets, and my research methods for the remainder included conducting oral history recordings with people who had first-hand memories of the recently deceased poets, as well as an examination of archival material such as photographs and, for those poets who wrote before the age of the camera, paintings and texts describing the individual.

The Jocelyn Herbert Archive

Jocelyn Herbert (1917 – 2003) was a seminal figure in postwar twentieth-century British theatre. Beginning her professional career in 1957 as a scene painter at George Devine’s English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre, she went on to become one of the most influential designers of the period and her approach altered the way directors and audiences came to view stage design, and contributed to a fundamental shift in the relationship between playwright, director and designer. I was instrumental in bringing Herbert’s archive, one of the most extensive theatre design archives in the UK, to UAL. This was possible because of Herbert’s wish, despite its high value in monetary and research terms, that her archive be housed within an art school and accessible to students rather than in an institution where it would available only to scholars in tightly controlled conditions. The positioning of Herbert’s material in CCW’s Grad School thus represents a unique opportunity to explore the potential integration of a world-class archive into the life of a practice-based university.

The Herbert Archive spans student drawings made at the London Theatre Studio in the late 1930s to the notebook she was using on the day she died in 2003, when working with Tony Harrison on his new play, Fram (later staged at the National’s Olivier auditorium, a space which Herbert helped to design). Herbert’s archive comprises over 6,000 set and costume drawings alongside related production photographs, notebooks, sketchbooks, diaries, contact books, three-dimensional stage models, ground plans, colour swatches for costumes, research materials, budgets, invoices, puppets, masks and mask moulds. Herbert’s career was characterised by long collaborative relationships with key directors, writers and actors, and her archive holds a significant – and as yet uninvestigated - body of correspondence with figures such as Lindsay Anderson, Samuel Beckett, Tony Harrison, John Osborne, Tony Richardson, David Storey and Arnold Wesker.

My role in relation to Herbert’s archive is both internal within the University in an exploration of how this material can be integrated with the teaching and research methodology at UAL and external in terms of using the archive to initiate public debate to deepen understanding of the often underestimated role of the scenographer. Herbert’s archive contains graphic and written evidence, for example, of her influence on Samuel Beckett. For the world premiere of Krapp’s Last Tape, Beckett initially asked that the character be played as a clown; Herbert’s drawings demonstrate the way she led him away from this concept of a red-nosed caricature to the portrayal of Krapp that Beckett went on to delineate in his stage directions of the published text, a personification which has since been handed down from production to production, most recently in Michael Gambon’s 2010 performance. Beckett was a frequent visitor to Herbert’s Hampshire home, Andrew’s Farm, and the archive includes a drawing she made of him whilst they were in discussion about the design for the world premier of his play, Footfalls. In the drawing, the writer is captured with his arms crossed and his hands gripping each shoulder, a pose suggestive of high anxiety. Beckett had been unaware of his posture, but on seeing the drawing, absorbed the gesture into his vision for the character that Billie Whitelaw was to play under his direction. Herbert’s costume drawings provide evidence of this transition which, again, has become integral to the performance of Beckett’s text.

A funded series of ten annual lectures commemorating Herbert and extending the debate about the scenographer’s role has been established at the National Theatre. The inaugural Jocelyn Herbert Lecture was given by Sir Richard Eyre in 2010 from the stage of the Olivier Theatre; the second will be given in March 2011. A publication will group the lectures together, and pod casts will enable viewers to play sections of the lectures themselves.

The Baring Archive

Since 2004 I have been working on research projects with the ING Bank, which explore ways in which the Baring Archive and Collection can be interpreted and used by art and design communities. In 1818 the first minister of France described Barings as the sixth great power, after Britain, France, Austria, Prussia and Russia, and the collection represents one of the finest financial archives in the world. Its documentation dates back to 1760 when the bank was started by Francis Baring and reaches 1995, when Barings became insolvent due to unauthorized trading and its business was acquired by ING. There have to date been 3 collaborative research projects between WCA – and now UAL - and the Baring Archive. The most recent, re:SEARCHING: playing in the archive, is a CCW-led initiative enabling artists and researchers across a number of disciplines and institutions to select artifacts in the Baring Archive and create a new piece of related work. The research explores the relationship between art and money, the implications of financial systems and the role of banking itself, and interrogates ways in which the special character of the Baring Archive can provide a test case for exploring the research potential of arts-business partnerships. Research questions investigate how the arts and business communities might engage productively in partnership to interpret and re-frame a little-known archive and reveal its value to a varied research community and the wider public.

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Wimbledon College of Arts
Date: 8 November 2006
Related Websites: http://www.eileenhogan.co.uk
Related Websites:
Event Location: The Fine Art Society, London
Locations / Venues:
LocationFrom DateTo Date
The Fine Art Society, London8 November 2006
Material/Media: paintings, drawings, prints
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2009 21:30
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2010 12:11
Item ID: 1879
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1879

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