Kara Maria » Profile


San Francisco CA


Personal Statement

My work is a visual dialogue between abstraction and representation in paintings, drawings, and prints. I borrow from the broad vocabulary of contemporary painting, blending geometric shapes, vivid hues, brush-marks, and stains with a host of social and environmental concerns seen through flashes of representational elements. I have included images such as surveillance cameras; fragments of women's bodies; the wreckage left behind after hurricane Katrina; military aircraft; and birds in flight. Other reference materials for my work include comic books, Japanese woodblock prints, and camouflage patterns. I am aesthetically influenced by the popular culture of the 1970s – especially the toys I grew up playing with like Lite Brite, Colorforms, and Spirograph.


 Animals are a recurring theme in my work. I am currently researching endangered species in relation to climate change, poaching, and other man-made disasters, and incorporating my findings into my work. The first paintings I did of this kind included well-known animal representatives of the current trend of mass extinction – such as a polar bear, and monarch butterfly. As my idea was sparked by reading Elizabeth Kolbert’s 2014 book The Sixth Extinction, I also made a painting depicting a Panamanian golden frog, one of the animals whose stories she discusses at length. The most recent paintings focus on endangered local animals – those from the US, and especially those from California. I recently completed paintings that include a California condor, a northern spotted owl, and a Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog. I am also interested in animals that are not endangered per se, but dwell in the wildland-urban interface, and have conflicting relationships with the people living around them – such as mountain lions, bears, and coyotes, among others.



Member for
11 years 17 weeks
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