Duesberry is a landscape painter who works in oils. She has painted all over the world but her main areas of focus are the northeast and western United States. In the winter months when the weather does not permit plein air painting the artist makes monotypes from the paintings executed that year, often collaging her own torn prints to experiment with abstraction.
A self-taught painter and printer with the exception of a month spent with Richard Diebenkorn during a 1986 NEA Painting Grant, which prompted her move from Manhattan’s Bowery to Colorado. The veil of moist Eastern light had obscured the geometry Duesberry sought in nature untiI she, in mid-career, awoke to southwestern sculptural light and dark, and the architectonic structure underlying western landscape in all seasons. As if her abstract sense had been masquerading as landscape, she changed her focus radically, delighting in the revealed TENSION between illusion in depth and flat patterning on the surface of a canvas, avoiding balance or resolve either way. Travels in two hemispheres, and especially in coastal California and Africa, have yielded compositions, which seem to resonate with pre-verbal childhood memories long ago displaced onto the rural Virginia hills, where first emotions occurred. This unconscious “mental furniture” has persisted through much iteration no matter upon which continent or square foot she has set her easel. Fifty solo gallery shows in as many years of exhibiting nation-wide have resulted in 4 museum surveys, the most important of which is her 50 year retrospective with its accompanying book Elevated Perspective: the Paintings of Joellyn Duesberry, at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 2011. Forty Years Celebrating Maine was celebrated this summer at Gleason Gallery in Portland, Maine. To close 2012 and open 2013 The Madden Museum of Art in Denver Colorado will host “Western Waters” an ecologically based show expressing the artists concerns about water scarcity, fracking and properly preparing the environment before any new construction.