Born and raised in Chicago, 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 in Fine Arts. She is currently a Professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of Notre Dame.
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.
Tomasula’s solo exhibitions include 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 has been presented in several museum exhibitions including 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). Her work has been written about in The New York Times, The New Yorker, ARTnews, and the Chicago Tribune, among others. Forum Gallery last presented a solo exhibition in March 2018, Maria Tomasula: All the Breath We Can Hold, and continues to show her work frequently at art fairs and in group exhibitions. In 2022, Soo Y. Kang, art historian and Professor of Art History at the University of Chicago, published the monograph, The Art of Maria Tomasula: Embodiment and Splendor.
Forum Gallery has proudly represented Maria Tomasula since 2003.