Kara Maria is a visual artist working in painting and mixed media. Her work reflects on political topics—feminism, war, and the environment. She borrows from the broad vocabulary of contemporary painting; blending 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 was born in Binghamton, New York. She received her BA and MFA from the University of California, Berkeley. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group shows throughout the United States at venues including the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno; the Cantor Center at Stanford University; the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, Texas; the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art; and the Katonah Museum of Art in New York; among many others.
Maria’s work has garnered critical attention in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Art in America. Maria 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. She has been a recipient of many awards and honors, including a grant from Artadia, an Eisner Prize in Art from UC Berkeley, and the Masterminds Grant from SF Weekly.
Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, the San Jose Museum of Art, the de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University, the di Rosa in Napa, and Mills College Art Museum in Oakland, among others.
Maria lives and works in San Francisco.
“No one smashes art-historical silos like Kara Maria. Her gonzo-poetic abstract landscapes – pastiches of gestural abstraction, Pop Art, action-comic iconography and natural history rendered in retina-tingling colors – are meticulously crafted exercises in well-ordered chaos.” – David M. Roth, SquareCylinder.com, February 16, 2018