Kara Maria makes paintings and works on paper that reflect on Earth’s biodiversity crisis and the place of endangered species in our increasingly unstable environment. Borrowing from the broad vocabulary of contemporary painting, Maria blends geometric shapes, vivid hues, and abstract marks with representational elements. Her recent work features miniature portraits of disappearing animals, focusing attention on the alarming rate of extinction now being caused by human activity.

Maria received her BA and MFA from the University of California, Berkeley. She has exhibited work in solo and group shows throughout the United States at venues including the de Saisset Museum, Santa Clara University, CA; the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, Sonoma, CA; the Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV; the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX; and the Katonah Museum of Art in New York.

Her work has received critical attention in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Art in America. In addition, Maria has been selected for many awards and honors, including a grant from Artadia, New York, NY; an Eisner Prize in Art from UC Berkeley; and the Masterminds Grant from SF Weekly. She has been awarded artist residencies at the Montalvo Arts Center, Recology Artist in Residence Program, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, and at the de Young’s Artist Studio.

Maria’s work appears in the permanent collections of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA); the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (Achenbach Foundation); the San Jose Museum of Art; and the Cantor Center at Stanford University; among others.

Born in Binghamton, New York (1968), Kara Maria now lives and works in San Francisco, California.

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“Maria’s vibrant works serve as a weirdly joyful and kinetic rendition of this impending animal death, perhaps akin to the second line in a New Orleans jazz funeral. We mourn the passing of these mysterious and irreplaceable creatures in the form of a parade – in this case, a parade of images. – Jaimie Baron, SquareCylinder.com, April 16, 2022