Monday, March 10, 2014

Sybil Andrews: Prints in HyperDrive!

Sybil Andrews (1898 –1992) was a British-Canadian printmaker best known for her modernist prints. She has become known for her multi-colored images which break with printmaking traditions. Her compositions gyrate and flip the viewer back and forth like riding a Brahma bull. Shapes and figures are used to help propel the viewer through her compositions much in the same way Cezanne does, only Andrews’ compositions have us on an unending whirly-gig or carousel and we can’t quite figure out where to get off.
Andrews’ works also reflect her society’s growing interest in the modern age, its concern with speed and with technological developments. She chose to portray rhythms of life with the human figure, through images of urban travel and sporting events.
Born in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England, Andrews was the third of five children born to Charles and Beatrice Andrews. After completing her high school education, Andrews wanted to study art, but her family couldn’t afford to send her to college. She went and apprenticed as a welder in an airplane factory during WWI, taking art correspondence courses on the side. When the war ended, she returned to her hometown and took up teaching at the Portland House School.
In 1922, Andrews moved to London to attend the Heatherley’s School of Fine Arts. She later took a secretarial position at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art to help pay for more classes. It was there she learned about printmaking. Her first subjects were the farming working class from her hometown, depicting agricultural life and sporting activities.
During WWII, she returned to welding warships. There she met her future husband, Walter Morgan, and in 1947 they got married and moved to Campbell River, British Columbia. Here she achieved a large following which lasted well into the 1950’s. Her work was rediscovered in the 1970’s and she enjoyed a growing and appreciative audience. She died in 1992 leaving a body of nearly 80 prints.
England has a large collection of her work at St. Edmundsbury Borough Council Heritage Service, Bury St Edmunds. This collection includes a number of early pieces produced while she lived in Suffolk. The Glenbow Museum has a major collection (over 1000 works) of Andrews' art, including all her prints, original blocks, sketchbooks, and personal archives.
Andrews was elected to the Society of Canadian Painters, Etchers and Engravers in 1951. In 1975 she completed The Banner of St Edmund - a hand embroidered silk on linen, begun in 1930. It is found in the Treasury of St James Cathedral, in Bury St. Edmunds, the town of her birth.
Public Collections:
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
The Bank of New York Mellon Collection, USA (Private Collection)
British Museum, London, UK
Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, USA
Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Canada
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Moyse's Hall Museum, Suffolk, UK
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand
Virtual Museum of Canada
This bit of news was sent from fellow inkster Laura Widmer after my initial post…..Sybil Andrews published a book titled "Artist's Kitchen" ISBN: 0 9512047 0 X. It was first published in
the UK in 1985 by RK Hudson with 2nd and 3rd runs in 1990 and 1992
respectively. It is a gem of a book of no-nonsense advice to
artists...sometimes amusing, sometimes harsh, but most often true. On the
title page it reads:

"This is the Kitchen where the ingredients of the cakes and pastries are
being assembled. It is NOT the display counter. It is a meditation on the
When, the How, the Where and the Why of Art and Artists."

Andrews compiled it from her years of private teaching and while it can be
tricky to find, it is well worth the search. The Campbell River Arts Council may still have a few copies of Andrews’ book available for sale. They discovered a box of books in 2009 and they sell them as a fundraising item(See attached newsletter).

1 comment:

  1. Hi, my name is Wayne Mountan, I am an artist in Campbell River. I was wondering if we could trade links on the Homepage, linking to eachother to increase blog visibility. My Homepage is at
    Thank you for your time -Wayne Mountan