Sarah Hillock spent her early childhood on a cattle farm in Marsville, Ontario, where she freely roamed and engaged directly with nature. This experience changed drastically when her family moved from the country to the suburb of Richmond Hill where she spent her teens, changing even more when she moved to downtown Toronto to attend art school at Ontario College of Art and Design, studying in the Drawing and Painting program until graduating 2004. Living in rural, suburban, and urban environments has had a profound influence on Hillock’s creative practice as an artist. Each painting seems to invoke the threshold of her story of moving from the country to the city.
The animals in Hillock’s paintings are not in their natural environments, but instead are encroached on, escaping out of, or supported by abstract forms and colours. These fields represent a gateway or threshold that the animal guards. By isolating her subjects in the frame, she impresses upon the viewer the loneliness of this path but also the potential for reverence as we pass further away from our experience of nature toward a more idolized romantic version. Hillock’s portraits convey both a personal and a universal experience of our migration toward a new type of relationship to nature. Her work has been part of many exhibitions in galleries across Canada.