La Costanza

Barbara Mathes Gallery
22 East 80 Street, New York, NY 10075

February 27 - April 26, 2014

About the Show

Over the past decade, Karen Wilberding Diefenbach has combined modern and traditional approaches to art in works inspired by the austere, ancient beauty of the Tuscan landscape. Imbued with an inner poetry, her sculptures, paintings and works on paper suggest an intimate connection between human, animal and natural worlds. Sculptural figures, words and images combine to create a sense of place and history.

Diefenbach's bronze sculptures are based on the endangered Pecore Massese sheep that she first encountered in the ancient Roman town of Camaiore in the Tuscan foothills of the Alps, and they evoke the quiet presence of an earthbound way of life increasingly threatened with disappearance. With their downward-sloping elongated necks, distinctive horns and spindly legs, Diefenbach's bronze sculptures serve as monuments to the past, yet their abstract, scarred surfaces and distortions of scale anchor them in the tradition of Modernist sculpture. "The animals are sentinels of an ancient time," Diefenbach says, "the slow grazing and awkward movements create both a sense of peace and acceptance."

Diefenbach's paintings of trees in oil on linen have a similar connection with the land, and an equally complex temporality. They are based on the olive and walnut trees that anchor the Tuscan soil throughout the passing of the seasons and that, as Diefenbach has said, "protect the land and remember what has passed before them." With their restrained palate and expressive linearity, Diefenbach's paintings conjure Symbolist motifs; at the same time her addition of text derived from musical notation or passages from Dante resonates with the word/image explorations of Conceptual art. Her works on paper combine her interest in landscape and the Pecore Massese, displaying a sensitivity to color and tone by depicting the sheep in delicate, abstract settings.

Diefenbach's works are connected by their ability to conjure the nature and culture of the place that inspired them, and by their remarkable sensitivity to form and materials. Through its evocative power and consistent mood, Diefenbach's art becomes a meditation on time and endurance.


Medieval Garden and Pecore

In conjunction with ICASTICA, Arezzo Biennale 2013
Via del Pileati 8, Arezzo

June 8-September 1, 2013

About the Show

From 7 June to 1 September 2013, Arezzo will host an extraordinary and prestigious cultural event – its first International Arezzo Art Biennial. The Biennial will be dedicated to contemporary visual art and will be accompanied by ancillary events devoted to architecture, design, theatre, music and dance. The Biennial will include installations, forums, workshops and performances characterizing and investigating the language of artistic creativity in the new millennium. The first edition will be devoted exclusively to women artists representing six continents. The inaugural edition is entitled ICASTICA, meaning the art of representing reality by that which is effective, incisive, and suggestive of concise action. Acting as venues for contemporary art, Arezzo's museums, historic and ancient buildings, magnificent churches, and splendid piazzas will connect past and present, contemporary art, the Renaissance, and the Middle Ages through the works of 40 extraordinary women artists taking their inspiration from Piero della Francesca, Pietro Lorenzetti, Cimabue, and Vasari.


The Pecore: Recent Sculpture

Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco
814 Montgomery Street, San Francisco
Gallery Guide

November 1-December 14, 2012
Gallery Hours: Monday - Friday 11- 5 and by appointment

Sales/Press Contact: Tracy Freedman, Freedman Art Advisory |
415-652-4338 | Press Release (PDF)

About the Show

The Italian Cultural Institute exhibits San Francisco artist Karen Wilberding Diefenbach's bronze sculptures and mixed media 'portraits' of Italian sheep, The Pecore with an opening reception Nov.1 from 6-8 pm at 814 Montgomery Street, San Francisco (between Jackson and Pacific). The show continues through Dec. 14, 2012.

Diefenbach documents the Pecore Massese sheep, an endangered old-world species which grazes near the artist's studio outside of Lucca. The animals, their shepherd, and the harsh beauty of their home serve her as both muse and metaphor. With their long necks, spindly legs, anvil-shaped heads and black mantles, the Massese are at once vulnerable and enduring, sentinels of an ancient time grazing in the present-day, and vessels for the artist's imagination and formal concerns.

A MFA Graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute, Karen Wilberding Diefenbach studied drawing with Manuel Neri. She has shown extensively in the U.S. and Europe. Her last SF show was in 2007 at Jernigan/Wicker Fine Art. Her 2010 solo exhibition at the ARIA Gallery in Florence, Italy, was reviewed in Vogue Italia and the Huffington Post.

Next year, a large flock of Diefenbach's Pecore will be displayed in the Piazza Grande of Arezzo, Italy.

"The Italian Cultural Institute is proud to host an exhibit which reflects on Italy's heritage and traditions from the perspective of a contemporary American artist," says Director Paolo Barlera. "Karen genuinely feels at home in both cultures and her work speaks to universal issues and the struggle to honor age, tradition and ritual within modernity."

For more information please contact: Tracy Freedman, Freedman Art Advisory | 415-652-4338