Sarah Hinckley


Sarah Hinckley Biography


Born: Cape Cod, Massachusetts, 1954


Columbia University, New York, MFA

School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Diploma & 5th year certificate

Tufts University, Medford, MA, BFA

California College of Arts & Crafts, Oakland 1972-73

Artist Statement:

"Painting is how I know what I am thinking, feeling and where I am going. It is how I filter all that is in the world around me."

My earliest inspirations for painting come from my childhood on Cape Cod surrounded by color fields of water, marsh, beach and sky.  Later the artists Marc Rothko, Agnes Martin, Monet and the formalist painters of the 60's challenged my visual imagination and lead me to explore the many depths that painting can take.

I travel often and seek out art for inspiration... I find it in paintings, sculpture, Architecture and in nature.  Recently, observing and documenting classical sculpture has inspired a new body of work influenced by shapes and shadows.

I approach painting intuitively, mapping out ideas and inspirations from my world into color fields and marks. I spend time editing them in and out.  This process allows me to continually search for a new direction, a new color relationship, or something unexpected and beautiful.  Certain elements remain open and unresolved, so my process slows.  A painting can take several months to complete and there are always some that remain in conversation much longer.  Patience, restraint and risk carry an equal weight in my process.  My challenge is to remain present, aware and open to all the possibilities that are happening with the materials before me.


2020 — Deborah Berke and Partners, New York NY.

2019 — Steven Harris/Rees Roberts, New York NY.

2017 — Littlejohn Contemporary
, New York NY. looking for some grace, Paintings and Watercolors

2016 — Chandra Cerrito Contemporary, Oakland CA. Sarah Hinckley, Esther Traugot and Mari Andrews

2015 — Littlejohn Contemporary, New York NY. Gallery B: Oil paintings and watercolors

2014 — Littlejohn Contemporary, New York NY. Gallery A: Sarah Hinckley

2013 — Cape Cod Museum of Art, Dennis MA. Polhemus Savery DaSilva Gallery: stillness of remembering

2012 — DM Contemporary, New York NY. somewhere over

2012 — Cahoon Museum of American Art, Cotuit MA. The Little Gallery: thoughts rearrange

2011 — Lauren Della Monica Fine Art, Wash Depot CT. POP-UP Gallery 

2010 — Steven Harris/Rees Roberts, New York NY. Recent Paintings

2009 — Emily Amy Gallery, Atlanta GA. Color Logic

2007 — Two Graces Gallery, Taos NM

2006 — Sears Peyton Gallery, New York NY. Daily Practice

2004 — Sears Peyton Gallery, New York NY. Recent Paintings

2002 — Steven Harris/Rees Roberts, New York NY

2001 — Steven Harris/Rees Roberts, New York NY

2000 — Deborah Berke, New York NY

1997 — Deborah Berke, New York NY

1994 — 210 Gallery, Santa Rosa FL

1990 — Columbia University, NY. M.F.A. Thesis Show


2020 — Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York NY. Gallery 20: The World is a Handkerchief, a traveling collaborative project by Claudia DeMonte and Cecilia Mandrile

2019 — Sarah Shepard Gallery, Larkspur CA. Curated by 3walls, NYC

2019 — Lanoue Gallery, Boston MA. New Arrivals + New Artists

2019 — London Print Studio Gallery, London UK. The World is a Handkerchief, a traveling collaborative project by Claudia DeMonte and Cecilia Mandrile

2018-19 — Hallspace Gallery, Boston MA. Sacred Asymmetry-Abstraction Boston/New York, curated by Philip Gerstein

2018 — Littlejohn Contemporary, New York NY. We Never Sleep, recent prints curated by Valerie Hammond

2018 — Hartford Art School, West Hartford CT. Pele Prints at the Silpe Gallery

2018 — Littlejohn Contemporary, New York NY. Recent works inspired by nature and its beauty: Breakey, Daviket, Galka, Hogin, Hinckley, Kratz, Kroll, McBain and Prince

2018 — Littlejohn Contemporary, New York NY. Gallery highlights

2018 — The Epsten Gallery, Kansas City MO. Pele Prints at the Epsten, organized by Crescendo Conservatory Director Michele Hamlett-Weith

2018 — Cape Cod Museum of Art, Dennis MA. Preserving the Very Nature of Cape Cod

2017 — Littlejohn Contemporary, New York NY. Breakey, Hogin, Heffernan, Hammond, Kroll and Hinckley

2016 — Littlejohn Contemporary, New York NY. Rotating Show: Bramson, English, Hammond, Hinckley, Kratz, Droll, Stickney-Gibson

2016 — Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury CT. Making Her Mark, featuring six women artists: Laurie Simmons, Claudia DeMonte, Hayv Kahraman, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Lisa Ruyter and Sarah Hinckley, curated by Lauren P. Della Monica

2016 — Littlejohn Contemporary, New Canaan, CT. New Gallery: Group Show

2015 — Chandra Cerrito Contemporary, New York NY. Satellite

2015 — Chandra Cerrito Contemporary, Oakland CA. Backroom

2015 — Littlejohn Contemporary, New York NY. Melinda Stickney-Gibson, Sarah Hinckley, Timothy Hawkesworth and Susan English 

2015 — Cape Cod Museum of Art, Dennis MA. Formal Aspects: Visual Dialogue in Structure — Erica Adams, Emily Berger, Joanne Freeman, Sarah Hinckley, Joanne Mattera and Mira Schor 

2014 — Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, Kansas City MO. Opie Gallery: Structure, Story & Flow

2014 — Vito Schnabel & The Bruce High Quality Foundation, New York NY. The Last Brucennial

2014 — Littlejohn Contemporary, New York NY. Gallery A: Annette Davidek, Sarah Hinckley, Melinda Stickney-Gibson, Brenda Hope Zappitell

2013 — DM Contemporary, New York NY. The Summer Show

2012 — Emily Amy Gallery, Atlanta GA. Spring Salon

2011 — Leslie Heller Projects, New York NY. Holiday Salon

2011 — Tria Gallery, New York NY. Natural Beauty (2-person exhibit)

2010 — Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York NY. Unlocking Creativity, Columbia Alumni Arts League

2009 — Emily Amy Gallery, Atlanta GA. Winter Salon

2009 — Sears Peyton Gallery, New York NY. Open Your Arms to the Sun

2009 — Emily Amy Gallery, Atlanta GA. It's the Little Things

2008 — Jancar Gallery, Los Angeles CA. Cool and Austere (7 Artists)

2008 — Emily Amy Gallery, Atlanta GA. Abstraction: An Exploration of Abstract Art

2008 — Deborah Berke, New York NY

2008 — One Night Only, 3875-1204 Gallery, Los Angeles CA. Curated by Mery Lynn McCorkle & Tom Jancar

2007 — Steven Harris/Rees Roberts, New York NY

2007 — Oliver Art Center, Oakland CA. California College of Art

2007 — 50 Bond Street, Showroom, New York NY

2006 — Steven Harris/Rees Roberts, New York NY. Summer Selections

2003-04 — American Embassy, San Jose, Costa Rica. Art in Embassies program

2002 — Sears Peyton Gallery, New York NY. Easy Breezy

2002 — Robert Green Fine Art, Mill Valley CA. Summer

2002 — Sears Peyton Gallery, New York NY. Playground, curated by Lisa Hatchadoorian

2002 — New Jersey Center for Visual Arts, Summit NJ. International, juror William Zimmer, art critic

2001 — Aidekman Arts Center, Tufts University, Medford MA. Alumni

2001 — Armory Art Center, West Palm Beach FL. October International, juror Peter Frank

2001 — Silvernine Guild Arts Center, New Canaan CT. Art of the Northeast, juror Bill Arning, Center, MA

2001 — Schoharie County Arts Council, Cobleskill NY. National Small Works, juror David Beitzel

2001 — Palm Springs Desert Museum, Palm Springs CA. Juror Anne Philbin 

2000 — General Electric Corporate Headquarters, Fairfield CT. 4 Women Painters

1999 — A.I.R. Gallery, New York NY

1999 — Wayne Art Center, Wayne PA

1998 — Deborah Berke, New York NY. 4 Painters

1998 — The Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield MA. Juror Laura Hoptmann

1996 — Deborah Berke, New York NY 

1991 — New York University, New York NY. Small Works, juror Peter Seltz

1990 — Wallach Gallery, Columbia University, New York NY. Selected M.F.A.

1990 — Vargoss Gallery, Hunter College, New York NY. New York City Selected M.F.A.

1990 — Columbia University, Prentis Hall, New York NY

1989 — Columbia University, Low Library, New York NY. Summer Selections

1989 — Columbia University, Prentis Hall, New York NY

1989 — Grossman Gallery, SMFA, Boston MA

1988 — David Williams Gallery, Provincetown MA

1988 — Grossman Gallery, SMFA, Boston MA

1986 — Mills Gallery, Boston MA


2020 — Bortolami, New York NY. Visual Aid, Postcards from the Edge Benefit

2019 — INK Miami Art Fair, Miami FL. Pele Prints

2019 — Bortolami, New York NY. Visual Aid, Postcards from the Edge Benefit

2018 — INK Miami Art Fair, Miami FL. Pele Prints

2018 — Texas Contemporary, Houston TX. Pele Prints

2018 — Aqua Art Fair, Miami FL. Pele Prints

2017 — Art on Paper, New York NY. Littlejohn Contemporary

2016 — Aqua Art Fair, Miami FL. Pele Prints

2016 — Cape Cod Museum of Art, Dennis MA

2015 — Aqua Art Fair, Miami FL. Pele Prints

2015 — Greene Naftali, New York NY. Cape Cod Modern House Trust

2015 — Cape Cod Museum of Art, Dennis MA

2014 — Aqua Art Fair, Miami FL. Pele Prints

2014 — Select Art Fair, New York NY. Pele Prints

2013 — Aqua Art Fair, Miami FL. Pele Prints

2012 — Cheim and Reid, New York NY. Visual Aid, Postcards from the Edge Benefit

2012 — Aqua Art Fair, Miami FL. Pele Prints

2011 — Baryshnikov Arts Center, New York NY. DiMenna Center for Classical Music, OHNY

2011 — CRG, New York NY. Visual Aid, Postcards from the Edge Benefit 

2010 — Exit Art, New York NY. Fracking, a Benefit Show

2010 — Haunch of Venison, New York NY. HiArt Benefit Gala

2010 — Art Hamptons, Bridgehampton NY. Tria Gallery 

2010 — Exit Art, New York NY. What Matters Most? Eco Art Space Benefit

2010 — ZieherSmith Gallery, New York NY. Visual Aid, Postcards from the Edge Benefit

2009 — Dharma Zen Center, Los Angeles CA. Benefit

2009 — Metro Pictures, New York NY. Visual Aid, Postcards from the Edge Benefit

2007 — James Cohan Gallery, New York NY. Visual Aid, Postcards from the Edge Benefit

2007 — Design Trust Benefit, New York NY. Milk Gallery

2007 — Visual Aid Sixth Annual Spring Auction & Benefit, San Francisco CA

2007 — Red Dot Art Fair, New York NY. Sears Peyton Gallery

2006 — ANERA, Silent Auction, Washington DC

2006 — Affordable Art Fair, New York NY. Dolby Chadwick Gallery

2005 — San Francisco Art Fair, San Francisco CA. Dolby Chadwick Gallery

2005 — Affordable Art Fair, New York NY. Dolby Chadwick Gallery

2005 — Art LA, Los Angles CA. Dolby Chadwick Gallery

2004 — Affordable Art Fair, New York NY. Dolby Chadwick Gallery

2004 — Art LA, Los Angles CA. Dolby Chadwick Gallery

2004 — San Francisco Art Fair, San Francisco CA. Dolby Chadwick Gallery

2003 — Affordable Art Fair, New York NY. Sears Peyton Gallery


• Better Homes and Gardens, January 2018. "Edson Hill, Stowe VT".

• Art, LTD, Sept/Oct 2016. "Excerpts from the Natural World, Chandra Cerrito Contemporary” by Leora Lutz.

• VOS Visual Art Source, July 2016. "Excerpts from the Natural World" by DeWitt Cheng.

• The Sunday Republican, May 2016. "Making her Mark" by Tracey O'Shaughnessy.

• The Country and Abroad, April/May 2016. "New Mattatuck Museum Exhibition 'Making her Mark' explores the presence and influence of women artists."

• Artscope Web Zine, March 2015. "Formal Aspects at the Cape Cod Museum of Art" by Phiannon Lee.

• Design, The ASID New York Metro Magazine, Fall/Winter 2014.

• Elliman Magazine, Fall/Winter 2014. "Brooklyn Navy Yard."

• St. Louis at Home, Fall 2014. "Made in St. Louis."

• Milieu, Spring 2014. "Fresh and Unafraid: Pretty in Pink."

• Artcritical, December 6, 2013. "When Hostility Turns Into Mannerism, Subtle Simplicity Offers Respite" by Franklin Einspruch.

• Barnstable Patriot, July 26, 2013. "Stillness of Remembering" by Mary Richmond.

• Cape Cod Art Magazine, Summer 2013. "Sarah Hinckley" by Amanda Wastrom.

• New England Home Magazine, Spring 2012. "Picture Perfect."

• The Litchfield County Times, September 23, 2011. "Pop-up Art in Washington" by Jack Coraggiom.

• Interior New York, July/August 2011. "Brooklyn's Best Kept Secrets."

• Coastal Living, May 2009. "Surfer Chick."

• House Beautiful, April 2009. "Cozy is Quirky."

• Architectural Digest, July 2007. "A Southern Spell."

• Taos News, June 7 - 13, 2007. "Beauty Within" by Virginia L. Clark, Two Graces Gallery.

• Shotgun Review, 2007. "Juried Annuals in the East Bay at ProArts" by SR Kucharski.

• Southern Accents, July/August 2005. "Watersound Showhouse" page 106.

• Details, August 2003. "In the Works" page 92-93.

• The New York Times, Friday, June 16 & 23, 2002. Critics Choice, New and Noteworthy "Playground" Sears Peyton Gallery.

• The New York Times Magazine, September 30, 2001. "Handyman's Special."

• Home Magazine, November 2001. "White Light."

• O The Oprah Magazine, February 2001. "Comfort Zone: Take This Job...and Redecorate it."

• The South Advocate, 1998. "Beauty Returns to Contemporary Art" by Mary Bell.

• Interior Design, September 1997. "Forum in the Community."

• Interior Design, October 1996. "House Double-Steven Harris."

• The Columbia Spectator, 1990. "Make it New Art" by Tamara Cochran.


Acadian Asset Management, Boston, MA
Alliance Bernstein LP, New York, NY
Alliance Capital Management Corporation, New York, NY
Analysis Group, Boston, MA
Analysis Group, New York, NY
Barclays Global Investors, San Francisco, CA
Bellagio, Las Vegas, NV
Calfox, Inc., San Francisco, CA
Capital G, Hamilton, Bermuda
Charles Schwab, New York, NY
DLA Piper Rudnick Gray, San Francisco, CA
Encantado Resort, Santa Fe, NM
The Federal Reserve Bank, Boston, MA
Gallery Koyanagi, Tokyo, Japan
Genentech, Inc., San Francisco, CA
General Electric Corporate Headquarters, Fairfield, CT
Goodwin Proctor, Boston, MA
Graciela Hotel, Burbank, CA
Gray, Cary, Ware & Frieden, San Francisco, CA
Guayamas Restaurant, Rancho Mirage, CA
Hard Rock Hotel, FL
Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles, CA
Hyatt Regency, Atlanta, GA
IXIS Asset Management, Boston, MA
KPMG Peat Marwick, San Francisco, CA
KTR Capital Partners, New York, NY
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, San Francisco, CA
Memorial Sloan Kettering, New York, NY
Morgan Stanley, New York, NY
Mutual Holdings, Boston, MA
New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY
NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, NY
Palamar Hotel, San Diego, CA
The Palazzo Resort, Las Vegas, NV
Pfizer, New York, NY
Ritz Carlton, Atlanta, GA
Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage, Rancho Mirage, CA
Scios Inc, Fremont CA
Spear Street Capital, San Francisco, CA
U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC
Venetian Resort, Macau, China
VeriSign, Inc., San Francisco, CA
Weill Cornell Medical, New York, NY
Wiley Publishing, Hoboken, NJ
Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale & Dorr, Boston, MA
Winston & Strawn, LLP, Chicago, IL
Winston & Strawn, LLP, San Francisco, CA

 Sarah Hinckley: Making Her Mark

In this excerpt from the Exhibition Catalog for Mattatuck Museum’s 2016 show Making Her Mark, curator Lauren P. Della Monica discusses Sarah’s work.

… “Another strong colorist, Sarah Hinckley’s abstract paintings are vivid expressions of the artist’s emotional mind when exposed to light as well as references to the natural world that serves as her inspiration. The paintings provide a place of contemplation and express themselves through color. Light and environment play a strong foundational role in Hinckley’s work. Often inspired by her early life on the seashore of Cape Cod where she was surrounded by flat beaches, serene horizons of sea and sky, salt marshes edging into the sea, and light glinting off the water even on the coldest days, Hinckley filters the world around her, even after years living and working in Manhattan, through the window of this formal, structural view.

In “my heart knows what my mind won’t say” abstract bands of subtle color stretch horizontally across the canvas. Biomorphic, plant-like shapes referencing nature extend across these bands of color adding elements as in a textile. Layer upon layer of paint is visible at the sides of the canvas, most colors of which are now hidden on the surface of the canvas. These invisible layers create depth and texture in the final surface of Hinckley’s work, their level of exposure or obscurity creating a quiet materiality to the work and a glow of underlying tone. The tactility of the surfaces comes from the various methods of application of paint to canvases, a mixture of smoothly painted and rough, bare areas of the canvas, aqueous paint dribbled in places and slickly applies to smooth edges in others, varying degrees of the weight of the material itself hanging together within structural bands of color. The large work creates an environment that envelops the viewer, providing a safe place to stop and contemplate the suggested mood of quiet prescience.

Working flat on a table, then hanging the work and looking at it for a time, allowing some time to make decisions about changing a form or color, perhaps adding another layer, Hinckley works on more than painting at a time. When she arrives at the studio each day, Hinckley often begins her practice with watercolors, which allow for an immediate composition, color choices limited to just a few giving the wet medium, and allow her hand to begin the motion of paintings. Often these watercolors inspire changes in the oil paintings in progress, hanging on the walls of the studio. Hinckley grapples with scale as a minimalist painter, adjusting the bands of color and shapes revealed within to achieve an overall rhythm and harmony. 

The grouping of smaller works tells another story, their layers revealing their evolution. Each individual piece holds together with Hinckley’s formal choices of bands of paint containing references to plant life, crescents evocative of suns and moons, painted in a lyrical style. The titles of the works reveal an inward focus, a personal reflection, using words like you, me , I and my, which puts the viewer in the intimate space of the artist at that moment, sharing a personal secret. A variety of brushwork and selective layering of paint creates colorful, evocative, and in many instances playful compositions. The colors work independently within every painting, each with its own voice. The emotion conveyed by the artist and understood by the viewer is a reflection of the intensity and boldness of the colors, using color as content. Taken together, the grouping of works serves as a chorus, providing diversity of sentiment like reading individual faces in a crowd.

Lauren P. Della Monica is a New York based art consultant and founder of LPDM Fine Art.


“Painting Air, Painting Light”—an essay by Lilly Wei

Sarah Hinckley is an advocate of process in art making. Although she has some idea in mind when she begins, the painting soon assumes a life of its own, an occurrence she respects and responds to stroke by stroke, shape by shape, color by color. Hinckley, a natural colorist, builds slowly, with deliberation, adjusting as the painting evolves. The process is uncertain, intuitive, but the element of surprise, of serendipitously finding something she wants to hold on to is of primary importance to her and if the painting veers in unexpected directions, so much the better. While she never predicts what the final outcome of this slow dance with her medium will be, it has its own inevitability.

An abstract painter of perceptual nuances, more or less minimalist in inclination, Hinckley's recent works are increasingly elaborated, increasingly differentiated, although these are relative terms. She continues to divides the field into three, four or more divisions to form broad stripes, their edges sometimes made by applying tape to the surface for a more precise delineation. Before, she preferred to paint them by hand, allowing the hand's wavering and the bleed of one color into the other. She still incorporates the bleed, liking the unexpected patterns that appear but now there is more "action in the field," she said. The brushwork and the layerings of color that make up the individual bands are more visible (before, she would smooth over the surface), the field itself is less monochromatic and the interplay of colors are less muted. By permitting the brushwork and other painterly incidents to remain and ramping up the color and the contrast, she increases tension and adds visual punch to her ethereal and elegant tone poems.

Hinckley grew up in Cape Cod, with a sky, sea and earth awash in northeast light and color. The source of almost all her work, although expressed in a multitude of ways, it is both a real and imagined place in her canvases. A legendary muse, her paintings and drawings strive to be the correlative to the Cape's miraculous coloration, its rhythms, its complex, shifting light and the deceptive quiescence that overlays what is potentially fierce and unfathomable. They are not mimetic but her recent projects seem to interweave color field with landscapes, that is, abstraction with something verging on representation. She said, as an example, the drips that are present as part of the process have become a commonplace, "everyone has drips" and while they remain a significant pictorial trope in her visual syntax, she wanted her abstract imagery to suggest something more specific, such as the scalloped shapes that approximate the patterns of waves breaking on the beach. One particularly beguiling painting is divided into four sections: one band is a pale, very tender green, another a dreamy blue from somewhere over the rainbow with a pattern of white drifting through like high cirrus clouds, a landscape that is not a landscape.

The overall presence of Hinckley's work is gentle, meditative and a manifestation of her longtime involvement with yogic practice. Beneath the surface, however, she has placed more assertive colors for opposition and complexity, their presence more felt than actually seen. She also titles her paintings with lyrics from rock and pop music, from Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Melissa Etheridge and Jimi Hendrix, say. She listens to music when she works and the rhythm of the painting is consciously and unconsciously in step with the rhythm of the music.

As another opposition, she sometimes reverses the bands in terms of color, placing the darkest at the top, a strategy inspired by Japanese hanging scrolls and lessens the landscape reference, or rather, makes it more ambiguous. She is also much influenced by the way space is allocated in the scrolls and how every detail is carefully thought out, including the textile patterns that are integrated into the overall composition, critical to its presentation. Although her process is wholly different, she consults pattern books of traditional Japanese textiles for motifs, not as a template but as a point of departure. An image that has recently appeared in her work resembled a incandescent fireball, a circular form with blurred, fingered edges that in white, becomes mysterious, the whites so luscious they look like cream, ready to be licked. She has also added figures that while abstract, evokes fanciful flora and fauna that seem to have been imported from Asian still lifes, set against her bands of color. She has several preferred formats, from the largest which is 62" x 58" to the smallest at 24" x 18". Her favorite is 48" x 50" but recently she has been exploring a 30" x 25" size that is new to her repertoire, spacious enough for her to work comfortably on but also intimate. As she plays the abstract off against the representational, she finds that the larger canvases become landscapes almost immediately while the smaller ones remain more resolutely abstract, like objects.

Ethereal as her paintings appear to be, her watercolors are even more diaphanous, more floating, as if everything solid melts into air. More spontaneous in watercolor—partially due to the nature of the medium itself— she layers the colors, sometimes painting over them to anchor their delicacy and slow the process, leaving the ground visible, the white of the paper showing through. As an artist spellbound by paint, Hinckley belongs to a venerable, ongoing tradition, one to which she has contributed her own marvels of hand, eye and colored earth, conjuring them out of the inexplicable human need to create, to make a mark and disrupt, for a moment, the ceaseless flux that is the universe.

—LILLY WEI Lilly Wei is a New York-based art critic and independent curator