The Herbarium Project

May 16 – August 24, 2014

Artist Karen Yurkovich explores our complex and variegated relationship with nature. Using specimens from the UBC Herbarium (a part of the Beaty Biodiversity Museum collections) she re-examines these taxonomically organized pieces of nature through their aesthetics, their symbolism, their mythologies and their histories. Recognizing and celebrating the ubiquity with which nature is integrated into our culture and daily lives, these paintings encourage us to move beyond a functional relationship with nature and to build a stronger emotional bond – to view nature not as a resource, but as a source of cultural, emotional and aesthetic value.

Alongside the paintings will be displayed some of the original Herbarium specimens, as well as the artist’s research materials, providing a unique insight into Yurkovich’s artistic process.

About the Artist

Karen Yurkovich is a Canadian artist working between Vancouver and Florence, Italy. She centres 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 lifes 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 currently directs and teaches in the MFA program at Studio Art Centers International, Florence and continues to teach at Emily Carr University in Vancouver.


All events related to The Herbarium Project are free with entry to the museum.

Artist Talk & Tour

Friday, July 18 | 1:00 pm

Join Karen Yurkovich for a talk & tour of The Herbarium Project. Learn about the artwork, tour the exhibition, and chat with the artist. Meet at 1:00 pm under the whale.

Family Sketching Program

Saturday, August 2 | 1:00 pm

Join The Herbarium Project artist Karen Yurkovich in sketching specimens from the Beaty Biodiversity Museum’s collection. Paper, drawing materials, and fantastic specimens all provided by the museum – simply drop in and draw!