Travelling extensively through Europe, India, the Middle East and Far East, artist and curator Deanna Petherbridge’s detailed monochrome drawings are inspired by diverse landscapes, cities and cultures: from mathematical patterns of Islamic design to rustic Umbrian dwellings, and Manchester’s industrial cast-iron structures. Involving detailed geometric studies or free inventions in brush and wash, her distinctive works deal with the impact of colonialism, industrialisation and warfare. Her passionate condemnation of present conflicts is expressed in the 2016 triptych The Destruction of the City of Homs.
This exhibition at the Whitworth brings together over 40 works from across her career, including the Manchester Suite – a collection of drawings made during her six-month residency at Manchester Art Gallery in 1982. Her studies of the city’s Victorian architecture during its first wave of regeneration in the 1980s led to a consideration of the resonance of history in cities, places and landscapes, a central theme of the exhibition.
From 1995-2001 Petherbridge was Professor of Drawing at the Royal College of Art where she set up the Centre for Drawing Research, the first doctoral programme in drawing in the UK. She has curated numerous exhibitions including The Primacy of Drawing: An Artist’s View in 1991, which led to the publication of her acclaimed book The Primacy of Drawing: Histories and Theories of Practice in 2010.