Anna Syperek, born in England of Polish and English parents and raised in Oshawa, Ontario, moved to Antigonish, Nova Scotia in 1971. She graduated with a BFA in painting and printmaking at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1980.
Anna then settled back in the Antigonish area with her husband, a film-maker, and together they raised three daughters. Anna teaches part time in the Art Department at St. Francis Xavier University where she also set up a community printmaking workshop.
Anna’s work is in the collection of the Canada Council and Nova Scotia Art Banks and numerous public and private collections across Canada, the United States, and Europe. She has received grants from the Canada Council, Nova Scotia Arts Council, and the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation. Anna belongs to the Nova Scotia Printmakers Association (former president), Visual Arts Nova Scotia, and the Society of Antigonish Printmakers.
Well known across the Maritimes for her large format landscape etchings, oils and watercolours, Anna was one of only 30 artists from across Canada chosen for the 2011 national portrait exhibition, The Kingston Prize, at the Royal Ontario Museum. Her Old New Scotland Exhibition toured Scotland in 2005 after its debut in Nova Scotia.
a way to make sense of the world
One of my favourite artists, David Milne, once said, “Feeling is the power that drives art. There doesn’t seem to be a more understandable word for it, though there are others that give something of the idea: aesthetic emotion, quickening, bringing to life. Or call it love, not love of man or woman or home or country or any material thing, but love without an object- intransitive love.” Intransitive love or aesthetic emotion comes from paying intense attention to the world in an attitude free from everyday concerns and reveals to us that the things of the world, unique and particular, just as they are, are immanent and an end in themselves- that the world is already full of meaning, significance and beauty if we can only see it. I try to work in this spirit, revealing the truth, unity and coherence of everyday life.
Drawing, then painting and printmaking, have always been a way for me to make sense of the world. I see so intimately when I draw and have come to love the beauty of the ordinary world around me. In fact I see how extra-ordinary it really is.
affected by the land
Since I was a child, I’ve always been affected by the land- the countryside on Sunday drives, even the backyards and vacant fields of my childhood held a mystery and a fascination that I didn’t wholly understand, but which probably compelled me to the study and practice of art. So my work is directly influenced by my love of the land, but also some of my teachers- my great high school art teacher, Murray Hofstetter, and Ed Porter, my intaglio instructor at NSCAD. And many artists have spoken to me through their work, including Giovanni Bellini, David Milne, John Sell Cotman, John Constable, Caspar David Freidrich, Samuel Palmer, Paul Gauguin, Mary Cassat, William Morris, Stanley Spencer, Paul Nash, Lucien Freud, Rembrandt, Odilon Redon, W J Phillips, LL Fitzgerald, and Mantegna to name a few…….
“There are places, just as there are people and objects and works of art, whose relation of parts creates a mystery, an enchantment, which cannot be analyzed… suggesting some inner design of very subtle purpose” Paul Nash- British Artist
a job that has no job description
One of my biggest challenges has been to feel that pursuing art is a legitimate occupation as I (and most artists) tends to work alone in a job that has no job description. Add to that the difficulties of self discipline and being my own promoter and business consultant. However, I must say I feel blessed that I’m doing just what I love to do and in fact, feel compelled to do.
a member since VANS began
I’ve been a member since VANS began. It is important to have a provincial arts group to represent us and keep us together as a lot of us live in rural areas. I used to enjoy the group juried shows that were offered and I think it is important to have a provincial arts magazine as well. Though Visual Arts News is recently somewhat limited in its views and in not allowing letters to the editor we are missing some healthy debate.
group of large oils
I have just held an exhibition at Lyghtesome Gallery in Antigonish and I’m working on a group of large oils for an exhibition at Studio 21 in Halifax for September 2016.