Sybil Andrews, 1898-1992
Sybil Andrews was a painter, sculptor, welder and teacher. However, she earned her international reputation as a printmaker with her dynamic, modernist linocuts.
After finishing high school and short on funds, Sybil took art classes by correspondence while she apprenticed as a welder during World War I. Upon completion of her correspondence course, she took a job teaching art at the Portland House School.
In 1922, at the age of 24, Andrews was accepted to study art at the Heatherley School of Fine Art in London and there met her future mentor and business partner, Cyril Power. Three years later, both Power and Andrews were appointed to staff the newly established Grosvenor School of Modern Art; Andrews took the role of school secretary.
While at the Grosvenor School, Andrews met Claude Flight, who taught linoleum relief printing. Both Andrews and Power embraced this exciting new art form, and from 1930 to 1938 they shared a studio at 2 Brook Green in Hammersmith. Andrews and Power influenced each other’s style and subject matter choices and even produced a few collaborative prints under the name Andrew Power.
Andrews produced an large body of work (76 linocuts in total) at the Hammersmith studio. Her work explored themes of dynamism of the modern machine age, the rhythmic movement of the human figure and showed influences of Futurism, Cubism and Vorticism, all popular movements at the Grosvenor School at the time.
In 1938 Andrews and Power gave up their Hammersmith studio and went their separate ways. In 1942 Andrews joined the war effort, working as a welder in the yards of the British Power Boat Company, where she met Walter Morgan. They married and emigrated to Canada in 1947, settling in Campbell River, a small logging town on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Andrews set up a small studio where she continued to teach and create linoleum prints, including her well-known "Stations of the Cross" series.
In 1948 Andrews had a solo exhibition of 27 linocuts, referred to in the Art Gallery Bulletin, Volume 16 No.3.
In 1949, she entered four drypoint etchings to the B.C. Graphic exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery, two were selected for the exhibition.
Again in 1949, Andrews exhibited in the B.C. Society of Fine Arts 39th Annual Exhibition. She also had two major solo exhibitions, one at the Masters Gallery in Calgary, and one at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary that toured across Canada.
Andrews’s linocuts Speedway and Racing are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. They were exhibited in the summer of 2006. Her work was featured again in the 2008 exhibition, Rhythms of Modern Life: British Prints 1914 - 1939.
Today, her work is sought after by collectors and her students continue to produce works heavily influenced by her style and technique.
Andrews died in Victoria, B.C. on 21 December 1992 at 95 years old.
The Feckless Collection, Penticton & Vancouver, BC
Glenbow Museum, Calgary, AB
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA
British Museum, London, UK