Deanna Petherbridge

Born 1939 Pretoria, South Africa

Artist Biography

Deanna Petherbridge is an artist, writer, and curator, whose primarily drawing-based practice gives expression to war, natural disasters, and the political and economic forces that shape the world. An Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), mythic architectural landscapes often serve as a metaphor for these themes. Alongside her artistic practice, she has curated several exhibitions and held three professorships, including at the Royal College of Art. She has authored extensive publications in both the press and peer-reviewed academic journals, writing mostly about drawing theory and practice, in addition to historical and contemporary issues in art and architecture. Her most notable publication, The Primacy of Drawing: Histories and Theories of Practice (2010), is used internationally as a resource for museums and art schools. The large-scale retrospective Deanna Petherbridge at the Whitworth Art Gallery (December 2016–June 2017) celebrated her career.


About the Artwork

Ruins (1987) is a semi-mythical arrangement of picture frames. Straight lines are layered to confuse any singular perspective, creating an imagined space apart from the everyday. The rigid precision of these angular lines is relaxed with draped red strings, ornamental detail, and smudged edges. The overall effect is an artistic landscape created with mathematical exactitude: a cacophony of angles as monumental imaginary structure. Petherbridge sees images as ‘metaphorical means to deal with complex subject matter about social and political issues’. Reminiscent of the architectural imagery of her wider oeuvre, the mythical yet geometric nature of Ruins – as a mixture of art, psychology, and architecture – is a metaphor for the viewer to interpret.