Deanna Petherbridge


Deanna Petherbridge CBE is an artist, writer and curator primarily concerned with drawing.

In the 1970s she published regularly in Architectural Design, The Architectural Review, Architect’s Journal and she was an art correspondent for The Financial Times in the 1980s and ran regular columns in Art Monthly. She contributed three chapters to the seminal publication Art Within Reach, edited by Peter Townsend in 1984 and edited Art for Architecture for the Department of the Environment in 1987.

Since the early 1990s she has been promoting the importance of drawing in relation to contemporary art practice in publications, exhibitions, conference papers and major lecture series such as Drawing towards Enquiry at the National Gallery in London in 2006 in association with the University of the Arts and Camberwell School of Art. The Primacy of Drawing: Histories and Theories of Practice (2010) extended ideas first investigated in the touring exhibition The Primacy of Drawing: An Artist’s View (1991) for the South Bank, London. Research related to The Primacy of Drawing resulted in the Hayward Gallery touring exhibition The Quick and the Dead: Artists and Anatomy, 1997 and the extended version of both exhibition and catalogue, Corps à Vif: Art et anatomie, Musée d’art et d’histoire, Geneva (1998).

As well as writing catalogues for contemporary art exhibitions and contributing to scholarly journals on a wide range of drawing- and sculpture-related issues, she continues to research into the drawings of historical artists, including John Flaxman and George Stubbs. A list of her publications can be found on her website

Petherbridge’s practice is drawing-based (predominantly pen and ink drawings on paper), although she has also produced large-scale murals and designed for the theatre. Her works are in major collections in the UK and internationally. Her most recent solo exhibition was Petherbridge Alone with Soane, in Sir John Soane's country house, Pitzhanger Manor, Ealing (2008) which accompanied a survey of eight international artists selected by Petherbridge, Drawing as Vital Practice.

She is currently Visiting Professor of Drawing at the University of the Arts, London. She was Professor of Drawing at the Royal College of Art from 1995 to 2001 where she launched the Centre for Drawing Research, the first doctoral program in drawing in the UK. Now Professor Emeritus, University of the West of England, Bristol, she was Arnolfini Professor of Drawing in Bristol between 2002 and 2006.

As a visiting artist and academic, she has undertaken a number of residencies and lecture tours, including India and South East Asia in the 1980s; Manchester City Art Gallery 1982; Melbourne, Australia in 2003. Lahore, Pakistan, 2005 and Sydney, Australia 2011. She was a Research Scholar at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles 2001 - 2002. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Design by Kingston University, London in 2001 and became an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1998.

Other research areas of particular interest to Petherbridge include the relationship of art and science, particularly in relation to anatomy; body politics and witchcraft, and vernacular architecture.

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