My drawings and paintings celebrate the visually absorbing shapes, colors, textures and eccentric details of the urban landscape. For me, buildings are the significant carriers of cultural memory. Surviving the builders and residents, they are reminders of remoter lives and times. Over the years, a city takes on an almost geological aspect, with successive generations leaving behind a layering of architectural styles. The enduring physical makeup of a city directly influences its culture as well as its ability to survive as a place people care about.
My landscapes are always without people. The buildings are the complete statement. Within their lines and the mood they evoke, the people who built them and lived in them are revealed more clearly than if they had posed for a portrait. Here lies the emotional resonance which inspires me to paint old houses. There is a hard, beautiful dignity in weathering all those years - pure to themselves and uncompromising. Many people have observed that the houses in my paintings seem strangely animated, as if they had personalities of their own. The windows, shutters and doors read almost like facial features, elements of individuality that make their presence felt.
Born in Schenectady, New York in 1961, I grew up in Manchester, Connecticut. My mother, Gail Hinchen, is a mixed-media collage artist who has always operated her own gallery. From an early age, art was an integral part of my earliest influences and memories as I was surrounded by a diverse group of artists for classes and art openings in our home. Starting to draw in earnest, I watched and learned techniques from artists Elden Rowland and Helen von Borstel (my grandmother) during summers in Truro, Cape Cod. Having studied with Robert Brackman, Jerry Farnsworth and Wallace Bassford, Rowland and von Borstel exhibited their work extensively in Albany's Capital Region, Cape Cod, Sarasota Fla. and the Art in Embassies Program throughout Europe and Asia. Early on, I was inspired by the lonely landscapes of Edward Hopper and brilliant color staging of Maxfield Parrish. Essentially a self-taught artist, my interests in aesthetics, urban design, architecture and history have always influenced my work. I received a B.A. in philosophy and political science from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey and an M.A. in political philosophy from Columbia University in New York City.
For many years, I worked solely in pen and black ink. Slowly, I introduced color and have since developed a completely original technique which is characterized by precise ink images with acrylic tones painted over each other, resembling thin semi-opaque or transparent layers. When dry, it produces a smooth matte finish. Other artists and collectors have compared my medium to egg tempera which employs the application of numerous small brush strokes and produces a brilliant, luminous finish. Prominent egg tempera artists include nearly every painter of the Italian Renaissance and Twentieth-Century revival artists such as Thomas Hart Benton and Andrew Wyeth.
I'm a full-time artist who has completed over twenty years worth of commissions throughout the Northeast and beyond. The majority of my drawings and paintings are of historic homes and landmark buildings in metropolitan New York and Boston. Many are based on referrals from past clients. Always inspired by American architecture styles and urban neighborhoods, I've lived in a series of old houses in Newark, New Jersey, Salem, Massachusetts and Albany, New York. My work has been featured in regional exhibitions including: The Albany Institute of History and Art, The New York State Museum, The Provincetown Art Association, The Stockade Art Show in Schenectady, N.Y., The Gallery On The Green in Canton, Ct. and The Historic Albany Foundation's Vacancy and Built Shows 2000-2013 (Best in Show Award, 2010). I'm also represented in numerous corporate and private art collections. My home and studio (a 1901 Colonial Revival) is located in Albany, New York.