Another biography of a painter you don’t likely know.
Sushila Singh (1904-1999) was a painter, print maker and occasional ceramicist. Born Margery ‘Sushila’ Singh, in India in 1904. Her father was Bawa Dhanwant Singh QC, having finished his legal training at Lincoln’s Inn in 1896, working in India and retired to England to give Sushila the advantage of an education not yet available to girls in India.
Sushila studied at Hornsey School of Art and latterly Royal College of Art under William Rothenstein. At Hornsey Sushila met fellow student Arthur Henry Andrews who followed her to study at the RCA, they graduated in 1929. Their fellow students in the college at this time were Lionel Ellis, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, John Piper, Evelyn Dunbar to list a few famous names.
The pair were married in 1930. Sushila’s early works were surrealist in nature, with her later work becoming more abstract. The later works were mostly pure colour with a pallet knife effect, where as the early works are confident brush strokes in neutral palette.
Sushila held solo exhibitions at the John Whibley Gallery (1962), Exeter University, Oxford, Grabowski (1963) and Heal’s Mansard Galleries (1966) and Galerie Niklaus Knoll, Basel, Switzerland. She continued to exhibit, with more Paintings from Greece in March, 1970 under Sushila Andrews in the catalogue, but this maybe confusion of her married name vs her professional one.
Sushila Singh shows landscapes which achieve a three dimensional quality in light and delicate colour. They reflect the movements of neo-romantic artists like John Piper and Paul Nash while still giving them an abstract element of her own. Her work is mostly of pallet-knife abstracts in overly vivid colours, but the subtle early works of hers I think is where the genius is and before her work became formulaic in cubic shapes.
Sushila Singh shows landscapes which achieve a three – dimensional quality in light and delicate colour . She likes buildings but her landscape is excellent in her Lake Bracciano.Arts Review – Volume 14, 1962
Singh and Andrews’ works are held in public collections such as Atkinson Art Gallery, Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and the Paintings in Hospitals Scheme, as well as private collections around the world.
After graduating Arthur Henry Andrews held a number of teaching posts in Sheffield and Derby Colleges of Art and Batley School of Art, eventually becoming Principal of Poole College of Further Education and Art Advisor to Dorset Education Committee. Sushlia donated many of their paintings to the Bournemouth & Poole College where these works were sold.
After her husband died, in the 1970s Singh moved to Italy living at Borgo Albizi 8, Florence. One of the last exhibitions was Masterpieces of the avantgarde – Three Decades of Contemporary Art at Annely Juda Fine Art.
Sushila’s early work was Surrealist and her later pictures were more abstract while retaining a dreamlike quality. Mixed shows included CEMA in World War II; public galleries in Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield; Wildenstein and John Whibley Gallery; New Art Centre and Rowan Gallery; and Ashgate Gallery, Farnham. Solo shows included Ashgate and John Whibley, Grabowski and Heal’s Mansard Galleries and Galerie Niklaus Knoll, Basle. Contemporary Art Society, Atkinson Art Gallery in South- port, Nuffield Foundation, Exeter College in Oxford and Leicester Education Authority hold examples. Lived in Bournemouth, Dorset.Bruckman