"Ukrainian Nyad", oil on canvas, 72" x 54", 2023
Virginia Derryberry's current work includes large scale oil on canvas figure narrative paintings along with fabric/costume constructions, that blend narrative elements from mythology and alchemy, the forerunner of modern science. The intent is to suggest multiple interpretations rather than straightforward illustration of a specific narrative. She has also been using multiple panels as another way to break up traditional narrative sequence and raise questions in the viewer's mind about what is being conveyed. At first glance, it seems that a “real” space is being defined, but in fact, the painted images are constructed from multiple viewpoints and lighting systems. Passages of volumetric rendering set next to more abstract, painterly areas result in the creation of a virtual, shifting world where nothing is quite what it seems.
In 2023, Derryberry received a North Carolina Artist Support Grant award to support her explorations into the concept of "rebis": dual or double matter set in opposition in order to reach dialogue rather than conflict, a fitting process in these days of violent divisiveness in our culture. Derryberry’s work is shown regularly in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States, and her paintings have been written about in an extensive list of publications including exhibition catalogs, New American Paintings magazine and Oxford American Magazine. Her solo exhibition of work from her "Private Domain" series, first shown in February, 2016, at UNC Asheville, has traveled during the past 6 years to venues in Nevada, Illinois, Virginia, Florida, South Carolina, Alabama and Pennsylvania. Upcoming in fall, 2023, it will be shown at the Marietta Cobb Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA. "Fabrication", a group exhibition by artists who combine painting and fabric/sewing traveled to over 10 locations across the country, 2014-2018.
In addition to the NC Artist Support grant, Derryberry has received such awards as Outstanding Artistic Achievement from the Southeastern College Art Association; Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome; the Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award and the Feldman Professor Award for scholarship from UNC-Asheville; the Annual Artist Fellowship from the Southeastern College Art Association. Residencies have included Moulin a’ Nef, Auvillar, France and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her drawings and paintings are in numerous private and public collections is also represented in two major public art commissions: a site-specific installation of 16 paintings at the Hartsfield-Atlanta International Airport and a 10 piece multi-panel painting at the Knoxville Convention Center. She has taught drawing and painting in a number of universities, most recently as a Professor of Art in the Department of Art and Art History, UNC Asheville, 1996-2015 and at the New York Academy of Art, 2016. Her contributions as a teacher were recognized in 2017 when she received the Distinguished Teaching of Art Award from the national organization, the College Art Association.