Karen Yurkovich


About the Artist:

Karen Yurkovich is a Canadian artist working between Vancouver and Florence, Italy. She centers her practice on nature and the ways in which it manifests in the thoughts and concepts within society and culture. Her work explores themes such as native and immigrant plants, bonsai, classical still life of the 16th century, GMOs, ancient cultivars and cultivation, the use of plants in medicine and culinary practices, issues of biodiversity, and the symbolic role of plants within different cultures. 

Yurkovich’s work has been shown extensively and can be found in both private and public collections including the Bill Gates Foundation, Unicredit Bank, Italy, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and the Cy and Lissa Wagner Collection, Texas. She was Director of and professor in the MFA program at Studio Art Centers International, Florence and continues to teach at Emily Carr University in Vancouver.




Solo Exhibitions and Projects

2017   Installation in the tepidarium, Horticulture Gardens, Florence, Italy

2017   Project with Archeologia Arborea, biodiversity foundation in Italy

2017   Project with UBC Botanical Garden, and UBC Farm, re biodiversity

2014   Herbarium Project, Beaty Biodiversity Museum, UBC, Vancouver, Canada

2014   Turning Landscapes, Linda Hodges Gallery, Seattle, USA

2013   Project with UBC Botanical Garden and Apple Festival, Vancouver, Canada

2013   Cultural Biodiversity Projects, SACI Gallery, Florence, Italy

2012   New Paintings, Linda Hodges Gallery, Seattle, USA,

2012   Working In Nature, UBC Farm and Beaty Biodiversity Museum, Vancouver, Canada

2012   Morphology, Bau-Xi Gallery, Toronto, Canada

2011   A Concept of Cloud, Bau-Xi Gallery, Vancouver, Canada

2009   Karen Yurkovich, Linda Hodges Gallery, Seattle, USA

2008   Project for Vantage Art projects, photographic edition, Worm Hole, Vancouver, Canada

2008   Clear Skies, Bau-Xi Gallery, Vancouver, Canada

2008   Last Garden, Galleria Della Pina, Pietrasanta, Italy

2008   Magic Nature, SACI Gallery, Florence, Italy

2007   Daylight, Bau-Xi Gallery, Vancouver, Canada

2007   Cool Fields, Agnes Bugera Gallery, Edmonton, Canada

2007   The Forgotten Pears, episode of Recreating Eden, on Vision TV, shown in February 2007

2007   Cover for The Pear Orchard, by Joanne Weber, Hagios Press, Canada

2006   Fiori di Montagna, the dark side of Nature, Studio d’Arte Raffaelli, Trento, Italy

2006   Nature Walk, Bau-Xi Gallery, Toronto, Canada

2006   Bio-D, Bau-Xi Gallery, Vancouver, Canda

2006   Apple, Linda Hodges Gallery, Seattle, USA

2005   Post-Natural, Galleria Santa Marta, Milan, Italy

2006   Meta, Linda Hodges Gallery, Seattle, USA

2004   Nature, Studio d’Arte Raffaelli, Trento, Italy

2004   I never promised you a rose garden, part one, Bau-Xi Gallery, Toronto, Canada

2004   I never promised you a rose garden, part two, Bau-Xi Gallery, Vancouver, Canada

2004   Incontri, Project for Juliet, N. 118, June 2004, pages 48 – 49

2003 and earlier

Oracle, Linda Hodges Gallery, Seattle, USA    

Metamorphoses, Bau-Xi Gallery, Vancouver, Canada

The Same Story Again, Agnes Bugera Gallery, Edmonton, Canada

Love KNots, Linda Hodges Gallery, Seattle, USA

Change of Season, Bau-Xi Gallery, Vancouver, Canada    

Family Trees, Linda Hodges Gallery, Seattle, USA    

A Single Line, Diane Farris Gallery, Vancouver, Canada

West Meets East, Linda Hodges Gallery, Seattle, USA

B.C. Natives and Immigrants, Richmond Art Gallery, Richmond, Canada

B.C. Natives and Immigrants, Diane Farris Gallery, Vancouver, Canada

Karen Yurkovich, Sala Giulia Gens, Rome    , Italy

Gli Elementi, Sala del Grifo e del Leone, Palazzo dei Priori, Perugia, Italy


Selected Group Exhibitions

2015   Brain Storms: UAlberta Creates, University of Alberta Museums, Edmonton, Canada

2015   The Teacher and the Student, project/installation with Walker Keith Jernigan on the relationship student/teacher, Florence, Italy

2011   Terra, Berchidda, Italy, curated by Gianella Demuro e Antonello Fresu, catalogue

2009   Artificio e Natura, GalleriaArmoryArte, Perugia, Italy, curated by Loredana Parmesani and Carla Berioli, catalogue

2008   Il vaso di Pandora, GalleriaArmoryArte, Perugia, Italy, curated by Valerio Dehò, catalogue

2007   ArtCover, Rocca dei Bentivoglio, Bazzano, Italy, curated by Valerio Dehò

2007   SACI Faculty Exhibition, L'Albero Celeste Art Gallery, San Gimignano, Italy, December

2006   Diverse Nature, with Isabella dalla Ragione, fp architetti, Milano, Italy

2006   SACI Faculty Exhibition, August 2006 to May 2007, selected US Universities, catalogue

2005   Vanitas, Studio d'Arte Raffaelli, Trento, Italy, catalogue

2005   Artisti Stranieri in Umbria, Corciano, Chiesa di San Francesco, curated by Massimo Duranti, catalogue

2004   Vineart, Fair of contemporary and modern art, meditation of great wines, Messe fur Moderne und Zeitgenossische Kunst, Bolzano, Italy, November, catalogue

2004   Ora, Galleria Spazio, Orvieto, Italy

2004  Robinson, First International Prize for Contemporary Art, Passioni  D'Umbria, Flash Art Museum, Trevi, Italy, curated by Maurizio Coccia, catalogue

2004   Passione di Mela, various sites in Val di Non, Italy, curated by Vittoria Coen, catalogue

Artefiera, Bologna, Italy

2003   Pre-final, Miss Italia, San Benedetto del Tronto, Selected artist, artistic intervention on five gowns. Transmission September 13, Rai 1.

2003  Enter. Invito al futuro, Premio internazionale d’arte Ermanno Casoli, sixth edition, Serra San Quirico, Ancona, Galleria Spazia, Bologna, Barbara Behan Gallery, London, January, 2004, curated by Valerio Dehò

2003   Floralis, Bau-Xi Gallery, Vancouver

2003  Hortus Conclusus, installation in the Arciducal Park, Arco, Italy, curated by Giovanna Nicoletti

2002   DNArt, Biennale, Kunsthaus Merano, Merano, Italy, curated by Valerio Dehò, catalogue


Curatorial Projects

2016   U-Turn, with curator Daria Filardo, SACI MFA final exhibition, Biagiotti Arte Contemporanea, Florence

2015   Long Distance, with curator Daria Filardo, SACI MFA final exhibition, Florence. Including the organization of a show in Le Murate, cultural space of City of Florence, and a round table discussion including the cultural consultant for the City of Florence, Tommaso Sacchi, the curator and director of Le Murate and Il Novecento Museum, Valentina Gelsini, and several Italian artists of local, national and international profile.

2014   Within Alterity: a collection, a population a territory, co-curated with Daria Filardo, MAEC museum, Cortona, Italy, April to July



2017   Archeologia Arborea, Lerchi, Italy, June

2012-2013   Beaty Museum for Biodiversity, Vancouver, BC



2000   Mentorship in scagliola technique with R. Cappelletti, Perugia, Italy

1998   Mentorship in traditional painting techniques and restoration for application in non-toxic techniques with restorer Giovanni Manuali, Italy

1987   Master of Fine Arts, 1990, Bachelor of Fine Arts, University of Alberta, Canada



Books and Catalogues

The Herbarium Project, catalogue with the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, Vancouver, 2014

Terra, curated by Gianella Demuro e A. Fresu, Edizioni Time in Jazz, Berchidda, Italy, 2011

Artificio e Natura, curated by Loredana Permesani, catalogue, GalleriaArmoryArte, Perugia, 2009

Il vaso di Pandora, curated by Valerio Deho', catalogue, GalleriaArmoryArte, Perugia, 2008

L'arte nel bicchiere, la collezione d'arte moderna Di Franco, Cortina, 2009 and 2007

Fiori di Montagna, the dark side of Nature, catalogue, Studio d'Arte Raffaelli, Trento, Italy, 2006

Faculty Exhibition: SACI, SACI, Florence, 2006

Post-Natural, catalogue, Galleria Santa Marta, Milan, 2005

Arte Fiera, catalogue, renografica, Bologna, Italy, 2005

Artisti Stranieri in Umbria (Foreign Artists in Umbria), curated by Massimo Duranti, catalogue, Comune di Corciano, Italy 2005

Robinson, curated by Maurizio Coccia, catalogue, Trevi Flash Art Museum, Italy, 2004

Passione di Mela (Apple Passions), Comune di Val di Non, Italy, 2004

Nature, catalogue, Studio d'Arte Raffaelli, Trento, Italy, 2004

Enter: Invito al Futuro (Enter: Invitation to the Future), catalogue, De Agostini Rizzoli Arte e Cultura, Milan, Italy, 2003

Hortus Conclusus, curated by Giovanna Nicoletti, catalogue, Nicolodi, Arco, Italy, 2003

DNArt, curated by Valerio Deho', catalogue, De Agostini Rizzoli Arte e Cultura, Milan, Italy, 2002

Metamorphoses, catalogue, Bau-Xi Gallery, Vancouver, 2002



The Artful Home, Christina Symons, Westworld magazine, Winter, 2016

The Herbarium Project, http://vancouverisawesome.com/2014/07/16/blueberries-are-awesome/ http://www.beatymuseum.ubc.ca/blog/blueberries

Painting Today, invited speaker at debate, organized by Alessandra Borsetti Venier at La Barbagianna Encounters on Art, 2013, Pontassieve, Italy

Il sogno degli americani…, Sergio Tossi, La Repubblica, June 2, 2013

Artist Works with Specimens of the UBC Herbarium, 10/01/2012:


Fascinating Fruit, Gilbert Bouchard, Where Magazine, May/June 2007

Nature as subject and implement, Mari Sasano, Edmonton Journal, June 1, 2007

Fiori del Male dal Canada (Flowers of Evil from Canada), D.V., Pre-visti, Il Giornale dell'Arte, Vernissage, December 2006

La Scoperta dell' America (The Discovery of America), M. Tomasini, L'Adige, December 14, 2006

Arte in Mostra, Corriere della Sera, March 15, 2004

Yurkovich: giardini dell’anima (Yurkovich, gardens of the soul), F. Degasperi, Il Trentino, March 25, 2004

Stupifacente natura di Karen Yurkovich (Amazing nature of Karen Yurkovich), Marco Tomasini, L'Adige, April 4, 2004

Uomo e Natura Indagini Pittoriche della Yurkovich (Man and Nature Pictorial Investigations by Yurkovich), Mariella Rossi, Corriere del Trentino, March 13, 2004

The best of Italian galleries, Extrart, March 2004

Karen Yurkovich, Monitor del Trentino, March 22, 2004

Karen Yurkovich - Nature, Exibart, March 22, 2004

La prima Guerra con dibattito (The first war with debate), P. Rosà, L'Adige, March 20, 2003

Hortus Conclusus, Mariella Rossi, Monitor del Trentino, April 22, 2003

Creative Pleasures, Milena Katz, Parkhurst Exchange, Volume 9 No.12, December 2001

Interview and story, Aislinn Hunter, CBC Radio, North by Northwest, January 27, 2001

Interview and feature story, Janet Dirks, VTV News at Six, January 30, 2001

Letter to a Friend, artist statement, Artichoke Magazine, November 1999

Karen Yurkovich at Linda Hodges, review by P. Gustafson, Asian Art News, Vol. 9, no 6, 1999

Editor’s Choice, Nick Rockel, Vancouver Magazine, November 1999

Karen Yurkovich, Vancouver Sun, November 4, 1999

Big Talk Backed Up with Bigger Talent, Charles Mandel, Edmonton Journal, October 6, 1995

Exhibit Raises Heat, Tracy Neumann, SEE magazine, October 19, 1995

Renaissance Woman, Charles Mandel, Edmonton Journal, November 30, 1994

This Show Provides Undoubted Pleasure, Elizabeth Beauchamp, Edmonton Journal, April 24, 1992




Director of MFA Program in Studio Arts and First Year MFA Studio Instructor, Head of Graduate Studies, Studio Art Centers International, Florence, Italy

Instructor of Drawing and Anatomical Drawing, Studio Art Centers International, Florence, Italy

Continuing Education, Emily Carr University of Art and Design

2004 - 2010

Drawing and painting courses, SACI, Florence, Italy

2D Honors Studio, SACI (Studio Art Centers International) Florence, Italy

Continuing Education, Emily Carr University of Art and Design

1998 - 2011

Oil Painting: Traditional Techniques, Non-Toxic Materials 1 and 2, Anatomical Drawing, Oil Painting, and Teacher’s Workshop, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, Vancouver

Instructor in Anatomical Drawing for Animators and Figure drawing, Oil Painting, Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and the University of Alberta, Edmonton


Grants and Commissions

2017   Richmond Public Art Commission

2000   Vancouver Foundation grant


Selected Collections

Bill Gates Foundation, Seattle

Unicredit Bank, Italy

Collection Lissa and Cy Wagner, Midland, Texas

Halle Barry, Hollywood

Erregerre Industries, Bergamo, Italy

Elica, Fabriano, Italy

Emaar Properties, Dubai, UAE

Intercept Pharmaceuticals, New York

Schweighofer Holzindustrie, Vienna, Austria

Collection Francesco Casoli, Serra San Quirico, Italy

Collection Di Franco, Alto-Adige, Italy

Washington First Bank, Seattle

Nordstroms, Seattle

Dorothy Ames Design, Toronto

Deloitte Touche, Seattle

Port of Tacoma, Tacoma, Washington

MillerThompson, Edmonton

Bio-Tech, Munich, Germany

Renaissance Wines, Vancouver and Calgary

Delta Hotels, Vancouver

Swedish Hospital, Seattle

Seymour Collection, Vancouver

Artemis Marketing Group, Vancouver

Alberta Foundation for the Arts

University of Alberta

Shaw Cable, Calgary and Victoria

David Zacharko Architect, Vancouver

Zacharko Design Partnership, Vancouver

The Lazy Gourmet Restaurant, Vancouver

Kyle Loranger Design, Edmonton

Zymogenetics Corporation, Seattle.

Private collections in Europe, the U.K., the US, and Canada



My practice is centered on the different cultural roles of nature: the biological, symbolic, historical and scientific. Through installation and multi-media, primarily painting, narratives are constructed which intertwine both fiction and factual information. In these new stories, plants mark a geography as well as a history that traces both movements of people (who bring plants as memory of places they have left to put down roots in a new place) and movements of nature (vegetative life as a constantly adjusting territory to climate changes and human desire). Plants have always held and abetted political and social power.  


Some of the themes researched include biodiversity, GMO’s, native and immigrant plants, the doctrine of signatures, food and gardening/foraging  traditions, the genre of 16th C still life painting, medicinal applications, and the symbolic meanings of plants in different cultures.


I am currently working on projects with the Beaty Biodiversity Museum in Vancouver and with an Italian association, Archeologia Arborea. Part of this research includes producing audio and video works that engage both the environment and its history and the people and their history, aiming to restore and realize a communal, collective space of shared social engagement. I am also re-exploring a previous theme of native and immigrant plants in both drawing and painting and stories about the historical context of foodstuffs and plants and their relationship to the body. This research includes the elaboration of recipes of migrating people’s, with re-enactment and documentation of the process.  

– Karen Yurkovich


Associated Exhibitions

Karen Yurkovich – Functionally Extinct
September 6 - September 30, 2018
Learn More »