Karen Yurkovich: Cultural Biodiversity Projects open in SACI’s Maidoff Gallery: November 7 at 6pm

Karen Yurkovich, "Roman Morning"

Karen Yurkovich, “Roman Morning”

KAREN YURKOVICH: Cultural Biodiversity Projects

November 7 – December 10, 2013

Opening: Thursday, November 7 at 6pm


Karen Yurkovich is a Canadian artist working between Vancouver, Canada and Florence, Italy. An integral part of her artistic practice concerns the relationship between culture and nature. Her work addresses the many ways in which nature and humanity have co-existed and co-evolved and her paintings integrate and interpret scientific categories and modes of representation. Beautiful, iconic and fragile, they are hybrids, where incongruent elements exist together and relationships become textual, as hinted at in the titles.

Karen Yurkovich, "Dip Trip"

Karen Yurkovich, “Dip Trip”

Karen is Director of the MFA program at Studio Art Centers International, Florence and has also taught at ECUAD. Her work has been included in the Vision TV program “Re-creating Eden” with the Italian biodiversity association Archeologia Arborea. Current projects include work with the Beaty Centre and Museum for Biodiversity, University of Britsh Columbia. She has shown nationally and internationally including the Kunsthaus Merano, and the Flash Art Museum, Italy.

Paintings and documentation for this “work in progress” exhibition will centralize around three main bodies of work and will include a sampling of works and documents from her most recent projects with the Beaty Center and Museum for Biodiversity UBC in Vancouver as well as the Botanical Garden at UBC. Included will also be an example from her work in Italy with the biodiversity association, Archeologia Arborea, based in Umbria.


These paintings explore the idea of an Herbarium, types of taxonomy and the ultimate aesthetic dimensions and decisions of such collections. They attempt to create new taxonomies based on the cultural and historical dimensions of the plants, mixing autochthonous varieties with exotic ones.

The work seeks to address the diverse strata of the cultural significance of plants and their relationships to the broader histories of the peoples who interact with them. Several are based on the apple varieties found at the UBC Apple Festival 2012 and cultivated in the province of BC. They include both heritage varieties with known histories and those developed in the province. The paintings tell stories using the history, mythology, uses, botanical aspects, symbolism and appearance of the different plants and apples.

A tossing of the evolutionary dice; from the ancient varieties, small, imperfect and almost inedible in the raw state to the large, juicy, perfect specimens of today. How much of evolution is now a conscious choice? This series of work is inspired by a collaboration and friendship with Isabella Dalla Ragione, founder of Archeologia Arborea, (Arboreal Archeology) in Umbria, Italy. The Association is dedicated to the preservation of ancient and disappearing fruiting plant varieties, and the documentation of the cultural traditions that arose around this fruiticulture.



Via Sant’Egidio, 14, Florence – Italy
T/F 055 240 910

Open Monday – Friday, 9am – 7pm
Saturday and Sunday, 1 – 7pm

Admission is free

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About SACI

SACI is a US non-profit College of Art and Design in Florence, Italy, for undergraduate and graduate students seeking accredited instruction in studio art, design, conservation, art history, and Italian language and culture. Founded in 1975, SACI offers the following programs: Academic Semester/Year Abroad, Summer Studies, Venice Summer Program, Post-Bac in Conservation, MFA in Studio Art, MA in Art History.

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