triptych, oil on panels, overall: 36 × 78 cm; each: 24 × 19 cm
Observing people while they are being recorded for National Life Stories has allowed Hogan to develop her interest in disrupting the formalities and conventions of portraiture. Her sitters are inevitably occupied with answering questions, looking at the interviewer rather than at Hogan. This quite literally gives her an alternative angle on portrait-making. Moreover, the sitters certainly do not sit still; instead, they often become animated by the conversations, so that their faces are in constant motion. Her portraits often reject the conventional frontality of the traditional portrait. This is obvious in the portraits Hogan made of Anya Sainsbury (previously Anya Linden), Lady Sainsbury of Preston Candover, while the former ballerina was being recorded by Cathy Courtney discussing both her life as a dancer and her training as an artist (she studied stage design at the Slade School of Art). The result of the eighteen sessions of about four hours each that Hogan attended between 2008 and 2011 is, like the sessions with Finlay, a series of portraits but also an archive of sketchbooks, notes, sounds, and film recordings.
Extract from Painting Portraits, Recording Lives by Sarah Victoria Turner for Eileen Hogan:Personal Geographies published by Yale University Press,2019
A Narrated Portrait, a digital work developed in the context of the Transforming Artist Books research network at Tate 2013. Hogan created a screen-based project showing sketches and paintings she had made between 2008 and 2011. The project explored how the experience of creating a portrait might be affected by the simultaneous recording of an audio life story with the sitter. Hogan sketched Anya Sainsbury while the latter was being interviewed by Courtney. The resulting drawings in Hogan’s sketchbook, the final portraits, Anya Sainsbury’s recorded words and a short film of one session were brought together in A Narrated Portrait 2008–2011. The project was developed with Armadillo Systems and published in 2013.
Stills from Anya Sainsbury, 2011, directed by Ed Webb-Ingall. British Library Sound Archive reference C464/64. This film was made while she was being recorded by Cathy Courtney for National Life Stories and painted by Hogan. Included in Hogan’s A Narrated Portrait, 2008–2011