‘Double Trouble’ at Sonoma Valley Museum of Art

Posted on September 15, 2021 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Now at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art is Double Trouble: Enrique Chagoya & Kara Maria. Quite different in visual style and technique, the works of the artist-couple speak to contemporary themes.

“Enrique and Kara are gifted artists whose work takes aim at the conflicts and paradoxes of our time in unexpected, and sometimes irreverent ways,” said SVMA Executive Director Linda Keaton.  “We are pleased to share their work with our audiences.”

Kara Maria, Moondance (Mexican gray wolf), 2017, acrylic on canvas, 48” x 60”, Private collection

Chagoya’s satirical creations, grounded in Western historical and pop-culture imagery and icons, explore complex issues such as immigration and socio-economics. In contrast, Maria’s vibrant, dynamic canvases conceal and reveal themes of ecological collapse and power conflicts between humans and the natural world.

The Opening Reception, which will be attended by the artists as well as the guest curators, Gwen Mercado-Reyes and Joey Reyes, will be held Saturday, September 18, 6 – 7:30 p.m. The event is $10 for the general public, free to SVMA members.  Register here.

Enrique Chagoya, The Seven Deadly Sins: Anger, 2020, acrylic and water mixable oil, with glass eyes collaged on canvas, 12” x 16”, Courtesy of Anglim/Trimble

The two artists recently completed a body of work titled “The Seven Deadly Sins,” inspired by a series of etchings of the same name published in 1904 by artist James Ensor.  These works, shown together for the first time, serve as an entry point to the rest of the exhibition.  Another first is the display of portraits that each artist painted of one another.

This exhibition is supported by: Kimberly & Simon Blattner; Diana Bugg & Jim Bertlesman; Elaine & Graham Smith; Dana Simpson-Stokes & Ken Stokes.

The gallery show, running through January 2, will be accompanied by compelling programs and activities throughout the year, including The Sanctuary City Project, a series of print workshops, conducted in SVMA’s Museum Studio.  Guests will have the opportunity to create custom prints addressing contemporary issues.

The Sanctuary Print Shop at SVMA will be open every other Saturday and Wednesday, beginning September 18 through December 15.  For more information, see

Other program activities include:

Saturday, September 24, 2021, 3 p.m.:  An Afternoon with Enrique Chagoya and Kara Maria

Saturday, October 23, 2021, 3 p.m.:  Significant Others: Working in Creative Partnerships

Saturday, November 13, 2021, 3 p.m. (date to be confirmed):  Every Murmur Becomes a Wave:  A Conversation About Climate Change and Im/migration

The Sonoma Valley Museum of Art is located at 551 Broadway and open Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. General admission is $10 and free for SVMA members; additional information is available at or by calling 707.939.SVMA. Wednesday is always free.

Enrique Chagoya, Illegal Alien’s Guide to the Theory of Everything, 2006-2012, acrylic and water-based oil on canvas, 60” x 80”, Courtesy of Anglim/Trimble


Enrique Chagoya

Born in Mexico City, Enrique Chagoya’s father encouraged his interest in art from an early age. Chagoya eventually pursued an education in Political Economy at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, where he contributed political cartoons to union newsletters. At age 26, Chagoya moved to Berkeley, California, and began working as a free-lance illustrator and graphic designer. Disheartened by economics programs in local colleges, Chagoya enrolled in the San Francisco Art Institute, where he earned a BFA in printmaking in 1984. He then pursued his MA and MFA at the University of California, Berkeley, graduating in 1987. In 2017, he received an Honorary Doctorate degree from the San Francisco Art Institute. Chagoya has exhibited his work nationally and internationally for over two decades. Exhibition highlights include: Retrospective “Borderlandia” Des Moines Art Center in Iowa, 2007 (traveled to UC Berkeley Art Museum and to the Palms Spring Art Museum, 2008); “Palimpsesto Canibal/Cannibal Palimpsest” first major traveling survey in Europe organized by ARTIUM Museum, 2013, traveled to Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderno-CAAM, 2015; “Eye to I: Self Portraits From 1900 to Today” at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, 2019. Chagoya’s work can be found in major museum collections in New York, California, Mexico and Spain.

Kara Maria, Earth-Shattering (monarch butterfly), 2019, acrylic on canvas, 72” x 84”, Courtesy of Ella Qing Hou and J. Sanford Miller

Kara Maria

Kara Maria first began her studies at a music conservatory in the east coast. She would eventually find her way traveling and studying through Europe. She then moved to San Francisco in 1990 to attend UC Berkeley. Maria received her BA in Art Practice in 1993 and MFA in 1998. She has exhibited work in solo and group shows throughout the United States at venues including the Nevada Museum of Art; 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. Her work has garnered critical attention in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Art in America. Maria was awarded artist residencies at the Montalvo Arts Center, Recology Artist in Residence Program, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, and the de Young’s Artist Studio. She is the recipient of 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. Maria’s work is included 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 de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University; among others. Artwork is available through Anglim/Trimble Gallery, San Francisco, CA; Gail Severn Gallery, Ketchum, ID; and Mark Moore Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA.

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