Duesberry is a self-taught 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.
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 she sought in nature until, in mid-career, she 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 the south west 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 many iterations 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 being a 50 year retrospective with its accompanying book Elevated Perspective: the Paintings of Joellyn Duesberry, at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 2011. Currently Duesberry is putting together a 3 decade survey of her painting in Maine to be celebrated at Gleason Gallery in Portland, Maine this summer. Locally the Madden Museum of Art Museum in Denver will exhibit her work this fall.