About the Artist

One summer I rented a small farmhouse in the steep hills above Camaiore, a small village from Roman times in Tuscany. To my surprise, there was a shepherd on the property who walked his herd by my house every morning and late afternoon. That first morning, both the arrival and the strange shape of these animals startled me. But I came to welcome the sound of the bells as the herd of 50 pecore slowly processed among the twisted olive trees. Soon, my sketchbooks were filled with drawings of these thin-limbed, long-necked creatures that seemed to be from another time.

The discovery of such a foreign way of life awakened in me a yearning to explore the metaphor of the sheep and of the land of twisted olive trees. Some of the trees were hundreds of years old and although clearly parts had died, new limbs showed determined survival. The shepherd and sheep would roam the land everyday for a lifetime.

I became aware of the permanence of what I was looking at and yet there were incredible changes that took place hour-by-hour and day-by-day.

I returned often to observe that place. In summer, the sheep grazed in the burnt golden grass. In autumn, their strange forms starkly contrasted with the orange nets of the olive harvest that covered the hills. And, in the cold light and bleak dampness of winter, they would pass sometimes in the dark.

The seasons also affected the trees and revealed more deeply their strength and endurance. The feeling that they protect and remember was most apparent in their stark form in winter. There was safety and protection in their steadfast form.

This study has become the language of my work for the last ten years.

What started as paintings of the landscape has become the bare trees of winter often with simple words from Dante. Most recently these trees are presented in a moment of extreme weather that will exist for only a short time. In their silent beauty they have become a meditation on time and endurance.

The bronze pecore also exist in a specific moment that will change. They are walking, or reaching, or grazing. I envision the new life-sized sculpture as returning to the land. They, too, stand with quiet dignity as a reflection on time and endurance.

KWD and pecore
Karen Wilberding Diefenbach, October 2010



MFA, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA, 1985
BA, Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY, 1978

Further study

Studio School, New York, NY, 1980
Art Students League, New York, NY, 1979
Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles, CA, 1975 – 1977
University of California Los Angeles, CA, 1977

Selected Solo Exhibitions

An American Artist in Lucca, Italian Consulate, San Francisco, CA, 2021
Dreams of Lucca, Barbara Mathes Gallery, New York, NY, 2018
La Costanza, Barbara Mathes Gallery, New York, NY, 2014
Recent Work, Marina Rinaldi, Florence, Italy, 2014 
The Pecore: Recent Sculpture, Italian Cultural Institute, San Francisco, CA, 2012 
Silente, ARIA art gallery, Florence, Italy, 2010 
Alberi, Bobbie Greenfield Gallery, Santa Monica, CA, 2007 
Recent Work, Jernigan-Wicker Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA, 2002 
The Olive Farm, Paintings and Sculpture, Sunset Publishing Corporation, Menlo Park, CA, 2000 
Olive Trees and Pecore, Galerie Janos, Paris, France, 1999 
Other Places & Olive Trees, Jernigan-Wicker Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA, 1998 
Other Places,  Jernigan-Wicker Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA, 1996 
Sisyphus Cycle, Bronzes, Jernigan-Wicker Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA, 1995 
Sisyphus Cycle, Paintings, J. Noblett Gallery, Sonoma, CA, 1988 
Karen Wilberding: Paintings and Sculpture, Brownson Art Gallery, Purchase, NY, 1980 

Selected Group Exhibitions

Gallery Artists Collective, ARIA Art Gallery, Florence, Italy, 2018 
Gallery Selections, Barbara Mathes Gallery, New York, NY, 2017 
Gallery Artists Collective, ARIA Art Gallery, Florence, Italy, 2016 
Summer Selections, Barbara Mathes Gallery, New York, NY, 2015 
Master Drawings, Barbara Mathes Gallery, New York, NY, 2015 
Unisono, ARIA Art Gallery, Florence, Italy, 2014 
Art Basel, Miami, Barbara Mathes Gallery Booth, Miami, FL, 2013 
Medieval Garden and Pecore, in conjunction with ICASTICA, Arezzo Biennale, Arezzo, Italy, 2013 
Gallery Artists Collective, ARIA Art Gallery, Florence, Italy, 2011 
Affordable Art Fair, Amsterdam, Netherlands and Milan, Italy, 2011 
The Perfect Storm, Toots and Magoo Gallery, Chapel Hill,  NC, 2010 
Recent Work, Gallery Artists, Toots and Magoo Gallery, Chapel Hill, NC, 2009 
Pecore, Greenfield Sacks Gallery, Santa Monica, CA, 2009 
Opening Show, Toots and Magoo Gallery, Chapel Hill, NC, 2008 
Arte Firenze, Galleria d’Arte Mentana, Florence, Italy, 2007 
American Artists in Tuscany, Bobbie Greenfield Gallery, Santa Monica, CA, 2004 

Selected Sculpture Installations

Arezzo, Italy, Permanent installation of five life-size Pecore sculptures on the ancient city walls
Park City, UT , Private Collection
Healdsburg, CA, Private Collection
Oakville, CA , Private Collection
Saint Helena, CA , Private Collection
Lucca, Italy , Private Collection
Tuscany, Italy , Private Collection
Forte dei Marmi, Italy, Temporary installation of three life-size Pecore sculptures