Sybil Andrews Canadian, born England

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Andrews worked as a welder constructing airplanes during World War I. Sledgehammers was based on a memory from this time of seeing blacksmiths at the forge. In this vividly colored linocut, she extended and contoured the men’s bodies to convey a feeling of monumentality and eliminated the anvil, metal, and anything that might detract from the image of pure physical force. Arms and hammers appear as a single instrument of power, and the sensation of repeated blows and coiled energy radiates across the surface. The circular formation and rendering of force and motion reveal the ongoing influence of Futurism. By the time Sledgehammers was made, machines had largely replaced many traditional tools and practices, such as those depicted here, yet Andrews presents her laborers as representative of modernity.

Sledgehammers, Sybil Andrews (Canadian (born England), Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk 1898–1992 Victoria, British Columbia), Color linocut on Japanese paper

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