Born in East Chicago, Indiana, Maria Tomasula is an active part of the Chicago art scene. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and then continued her education at Northwestern University, where she earned a Masters degree in Fine Arts. She is currently Professor of Art at the University of Notre Dame.
Her recent solo exhibitions include shows at Forum Gallery in New York and in Los Angeles, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis and at the National Museum of Mexican Art, Chicago. Her work was also included in Larger than Life: Women Artists Making it Big at Susquehanna Art Museum in Harrisburg PA (2003); Nuestras Historias, Stories of Mexican Identity at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago (2014); The Female Gaze at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia; Obsessive Drawing at Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts (2001); Timely and Timeless at the Aldrich Museum in Connecticut (1994) and Transitional Objects: Contemporary Still Life at the Neuburger Museum of Art, Purchase College, New York (2006–07).
With striking color and theatrical compositions, Tomasula’s artwork is influenced by an aesthetic of the Mexican diaspora, especially of altar painting, as well as by ‘new materialist’ writers. As an artist she seeks to create images that give visual form to the elusive sensation of being, of embodiment, and of relation with the world. She brings simple objects such as fruit and flowers together to create metaphorical, poetic works. The seemingly inanimate objects take on the vibrancy of evocative, sensual characteristics.