Sybil Andrews: Art and Life

October 19, 2019 – January 12, 2020

Organized by Glenbow
Curated by Hana Leaper

A visionary artist, Sybil Andrews found her artistic voice in the form of the linocut, a printmaking medium that demands directness and dynamism.

Andrews’ striking images are characterized by her bold use of colour and line. By stripping out extraneous detail, Andrews was seeking to “eliminate non-essentials to learn that great lesson of balance.” The resulting artworks are vital and eye-catching, often capturing a sense of energetic motion.

Glenbow’s connection with Sybil Andrews began in the early 1980s, when the museum organized an exhibition of her linocuts. As a result of this interest in her work, Andrews gifted more than 500 of her artworks to Glenbow, as well as the contents of her studio, which included personal papers and objects, making Glenbow the major study centre for Andrews’ life and work.

(Left) Sybil Andrews. Gale (detail), ca. 1930, Collection of Glenbow.
(Right) Sybil Andrews. Racing (detail), 1934, Collection of Glenbow.

Sybil Andrews lived the second half of her life in Campbell River, British Columbia, but was born in the small market town of Bury St Edmunds, England. Her fascinating life included apprenticing as a welder and working in an airplane factory in World War I, while simultaneously taking an art correspondence course that led to her becoming an art teacher in the post war period. She spent several years studying and living in London as a practicing artist. During World War II, she resumed working as a welder and constructed warships for the British Power Company. In 1947, she and her husband moved to Canada, where they made a living building and repairing boats. In the 1970s-80s Andrews’ artwork was “rediscovered” by the art world and she became a local celebrity on Vancouver Island. She lived until 1992 working as an artist and teacher in Campbell River. Andrews original prints are much sought after by collectors around the world and are held in many significant museum collections.

(Top) Sybil Andrews. Concert Hall, 1929, Collection of Glenbow.

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