Terry Rushworth was born in 1950 in Oldham, Lancashire where he lived and studied until 1976, at which point he moved to Hulme in Manchester. He returned back to his home town in 1987 and lives there currently.
He is a figurative artist specialising in oil painting and pencil drawing.
His passion for art started at an early age, he started drawing as a way to combat the boredom of months spent recovering from heart surgery. Shortly before the age of five he was found to have heart disease which required immediate surgery. He drew a great deal of inspiration from the Eagle comics that his parents brought into him. He missed the first two years of primary education at a local Roman Catholic school. He found school to be a harsh, brutal and confusing place. Even after moving to senior school he felt he did not fit in and took solace in the worlds he created in his art.
After school he was accepted onto an art and design course at Oldham Art School. It was whilst here that he met two like minded artists, Alan Meadowcroft and Paul Wilson and they and a friend of Pauls’, Danny Milne, formed the Embryo Group in 1970. They realized that as individual artists the chance of them producing enough work for a one man show was a remote possibility but as a group of artist they could fill a gallery with ease. The group exhibited in Oldham, Stockport, Altrincham, Warwick, Salford…
After three years he parted company with the Embryo Group and started to exhibit and sell his work through The Portland Gallery, Manchester. This was a very prolific and financially successful time for him. He was chosen to exhibit with a group of artists including David Hockney to represent the North of England in an exhibition at the Mall Gallery, London. Although the show proved to be a great success for him he received a less than positive review from the Guardian’s art critic Waldemar Januszczak. A little bruised by what he felt to be valid criticism he decided that he needed a more formal art education than he had received at Oldham.
He enrolled on a Fine Art Degree course at what is now known as Manchester Metropolitan University. This was a profoundly damaging time for him artistically. His work was constantly derided by his tutors as it did not conform to currently fashionable beliefs of what art should be. He was neither a modernist nor a conceptualist, he was told that he simply ‘painted by numbers’.
Although he gained a 2:1 the damage the three years had done made him doubt his art. Although he did still paint in fits and starts, he concentrated on living a ‘normal life’. Using his abilities as an illustrator in a series of jobs until in the late 90’s he started designing and developing special needs educational software for a section of Granada Television. In 2003 he was made redundant and became a self employed educational developer. However the feeling that he should really be painting again had been steadily growing over the years and so he decided to stop ‘normal work’ and return to his first love art. So it was in late 2015 after 34 years he began to paint again.
His work draws on his childhood, the effect of religion and education, a fascination with the myths and symbolism found in art and literature, the English countryside, music and traditions. Above all he believes that art should be mysterious, that it should provoke the viewer to ask questions of it, after all isn’t a mystery far more interesting than the explanation?