JoAnn Verburg received a BA in sociology from Ohio Wesleyan University and an MFA in Photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology. From 1977 to 1979, she served as the research director and photographer for the Rephotographic Survey Project, traveling throughout the American West to replicate the same wilderness views made by 19th-century frontier photographers. While heading Polaroid’s Visiting Artist Program in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Verburg promoted technical innovation in the photographic field by inviting artists Chuck Close, Andy Warhol, William Wegman, and Jim Dine, among others, to experiment with new large format instant cameras. Distinguished by its extraordinary sensitivity to the energy and sensuality of the natural world, Verburg’s own photographic work combines exquisite color, varied focus, and thoughtful composition to convey the beauty of its subject and setting. In addition to landscape, still life, and portrait photography, she has also worked on various installations and public art projects in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota.
The Umbrian landscape serves as a serial subject and rich source of inspiration in Verburg’s work. Often presented as large-format diptychs and triptychs, her lyrical images of olive groves near her home in Spoleto, Italy envelop the viewer in a serene, dreamlike atmosphere that invites an extended visual experience. Verburg began photographing olives trees – considered a sacred symbol by the ancient Greeks and Romans – in Spoleto and the woods of Monteluco because of the propensity of holm oaks there, and has returned to this idyllic environment with her husband, poet Jim Moore, for over 30 years. From panel to panel, her pictures explore the ephemeral nature of time through subtle shifts in light, color, and focus.