Celebrating the artistic friendship of Melbourne artists Ethel Spowers and Eveline Syme, the National Gallery Touring Exhibition Spowers & Syme will present the changing face of interwar Australia through the perspective of two pioneering modern women artists.
The exhibition offers rare insight into the unlikely collaboration between the daughters of rival media families. Studying together in Paris and later with avant-garde printmaker Claude Flight in London, Ethel Spowers and Eveline Syme returned to the conservative art world of Australia – where they became enthusiastic exponents of modern art in Melbourne during the 1930s and 40s.
Much-loved for their innovative approach to lino and woodcut techniques, Spowers & Syme showcases their dynamic approach through prints and drawings whose rhythmic patterns reflect the fast pace of the modern world through everyday observations of childhood themes, overseas travel and urban life.
Spowers & Syme is a National Gallery Touring Exhibition supported by Major Patron David Thomas AM, Visions of Australia, and the Gordon Darling Foundation. Spowers & Syme is a Know My Name project.
Curator: Dr Sarina Noordhuis-Fairfax, Curator, Australian Prints and Drawings
National Tour Partner
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David Thomas AM
Gordon Darling Foundation
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Dates & Venues
Canberra Museum and Gallery (CMAG), Canberra, ACT
13 Aug 2021 – 12 Feb 2022
Western Plains Cultural Centre, Dubbo, NSW
26 Feb – 29 May 2022
Geelong Gallery, Geelong, VIC
16 Jul – 16 Oct 2022
S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney, NSW
3 Dec 2022 – 12 Feb 2023
QUT Art Museum, Brisbane, QLD
11 Mar – 4 Jun 2023
Spowers & Syme celebrates the artistic friendship of Melbourne artists Ethel Spowers and Eveline Syme. Their prints, drawings and paintings – remarkable for their expressive energy – capture the zeitgeist of the interwar years. This beautifully illustrated catalogue traces their stories as two women from rival media families who pioneered modern printmaking in Australia.
Spowers and Syme were part of a newly independent generation of women artists able to travel widely and study with avant-garde teachers in England and France during the 1920s and 1930s. They brought back to Australia the spirit and knowledge of modern European art movements and techniques, which they shared through the expanding networks of art societies and private women’s clubs in Melbourne and Sydney. These remarkable women supported each other’s aspiration to become professional artists in a changing world and are now recognised for their significance as progressive artists dedicated to producing art that was truly of its time.
PUBLISHED AUGUST 2021
240 x 194 mm
Full Colour | Hardback
ISBN 978 0 646 84218 9
*Members discount available for publication purchases made at the Gallery in the Art Store only.