“My passion for Art History and the History of the Decorative Arts has informed my work throughout my career. I seek to create beauty through the reinterpretation of historical inspirations synthesized with my own visual vocabulary and contemporary views.
The resulting objects are rooted in the historical continuum.”

MARA SUPERIOR

BIOGRAPHY

(b.1951, New York, NY)

Mara Superior is an American visual artist who works in porcelain. A native New Yorker, Superior made good use of her proximity to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, visiting constantly. From an early age, her life has been spent in the pursuit of art, beauty, history, and travel.

Superior considers the icons of art history to serve as points of departure for her diverse ceramic works. Travel has become the lens from which she works from, often seeking inspirations from the far corners of European and US destinations. Her work demonstrates a thorough grasp of historical precedents with an added twist of her enchanting reinterpretations. She is known for her detailed narrative sculptures and wall reliefs with subject matter ranging from the personal to the political and environmental.

Mara Superior has received a National Endowment for the Visual Arts Fellowship and numerous individual artist grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, most recently in 2017. Her work can be found nationally in many public and private collections. In 2018, through the generous support of Kohler Foundation, gifts of art by Mara Superior were made to fifteen museums throughout the USA.

Superior was one of the founding partners of Pinch Pottery/Ferrin Gallery in Northampton, Massachusetts. Mara Superior received her BFA in painting from the University of Connecticut and a MAT in ceramics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She lives and works in western Massachusetts.

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MARA SUPERIOR

CURRICULUM VITAE

Mara Superior (b. 1951, New York, NY) received her BFA in painting from the University of Connecticut and an MAT in ceramics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

She has traveled extensively in the US and Europe on artistic pilgrimages seeking the icons of art history to serves as points of departure for her ceramic practice.

Superior was one of the founding partners of Pinch Pottery/Ferrin Gallery in Northampton, Massachusetts. She lives and works in Western Massachusetts.

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MARA SUPERIOR

STATEMENT

Mara Superior is an American visual artist who works in porcelain. A native New Yorker, Superior made good use of her proximity to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, visiting constantly. From an early age, her life has been spent in the pursuit of art, beauty, history, and travel.

Her work demonstrates a thorough grasp of historical precedents with an added twist of her enchanting reinterpretations. She is known for her detailed narrative sculptures and wall reliefs with subject matter ranging from the personal to the political and environmental.

Superior has received a National Endowment for the Visual Arts fellowship and numerous individual artists grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, most recently in 2017. In 2010 she was interviewed for the oral history program of the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art. Her work can be found nationally and internationally in many public and private collections.

In 2018, through the generous support of Kohler Foundation, gifts of art by Mara Superior were made to fifteen museums throughout the USA, including the Albany Institute of History & Art, Bennington Museum, Chazen Museum of Art, Chipstone Foundation, Crocker Art Museum, Currier Museum of Art, Everson Museum of Art, Fuller Craft Museum, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth; Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Peabody Essex Museum, Racine Art Museum, Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, & RISD Museum.

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PUBLICATIONS

2017

  • Making Good: An Inspirational Guide to Being an Artist Craftsman”, Jacklyn Scott, Kristin Müller, Tommy Simpson, Foreword by Stuart Kestenbaum, Schiffer Publications, pg189, 2017.
  • Studio Craft as Career: A Guide to Achieving Excellence in Art-making”, Paul J. Stankard, Schiffer   Publications, pg194, 2017.

2016

  • “413: Pioneering Western Massachusetts”, Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA, 2016.
  • “Patriotic Passions & Mara Superior”, Galerie Magazine, Fall Issue 2016.

2013

  • “500 Teapots”, Lawton, Jim. Asheville: Lark Crafts, 2013.

2011

  • “WOMENARTISTS@NEWBRITAINMUSEUM”, Buckberrough, Sherry and Noble, Nancy. Hanover and  London: University Press of New England, 2011.
  • “The Birding Life”, Laurence, Carol Sheehan and Precourt, Kathryn. New York, NY: Clarkson Potter Publishers, 2011.

2010

  • “The Political Imagination of Mara Superior: An Interview with the Artist”, Hubbs, Joanna. Ceramic Art & Perception Magazine, June 2010.
  • “Politics and Intuition”, Buttenweiser, Sarah. Hand/Eye Magazine.com, 2010.
  • “Superior Décor”, Buttonweiser, Sarah. Preview Magazine, December 2010.

2009

  • “American Craft”, image of “Bushwacked”, April-May 2009.

2008

  • “Wedded Bliss, the Marriage of Art and Ceremony”, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA, 2008.

2006

  • “Art into The Fire”, Hornblow, Deborah, Hartford, CT: Hartford Courant, 2006.
  • “Mara Superior: A Retrospective”, exhibition catalogue, New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT, 2006.

2004

  • “House and Garden”, Martin, Molly. Nantucket, The Dane Gallery, 2004.
  • “500 Figures in Clay: Ceramic Artists Celebrate the Human Form”, Gunter, Veronika Alice.  Asheville: Lark Crafts, 2004.

2003

  • “Souvenirs D’Italia”, Lauria, Jo. American Craft Magazine, August – September 2003.
  • “Great Pots, Contemporary Ceramics from Function to Fantasy”, Dietz, Ulysses Grant. The Newark Museum, Guild Publishing.
  • “21st Century Ceramics, United States and Canada”, Hunt, Bill. Westerville, OH: American Ceramic Society, 2003.

2002

  • “Mara Superior”, Ceramics Monthly, Vol. 50 Issue 8, p14, Oct 2002.

2001

  • “American Craft, Commissions”, Literati Clock, February/March 2001.

2000

  • “The Craft and Art of Clay”, Peterson, Susan. Overlook press/Viking, 3rd Edition, 2000.
  • “Color and Fire: Defining Moments in Studio Ceramics, 1950 – 2000”, Lauria, Jo. New York, NY: Rizzoli International Publications, 2000.
  • “Teapots Transformed: Exploration of an Object”, Ferrin, Leslie.; Madison, WI: GUILD Publishing, 2000.
  • “Telling Stories in Porcelain”, Whitcomb, Claire. Victoria Magazine, vol. 14 # 4, April 2000.

1995

  • “The Clinton Collection”, Berry, Heidi. Washington Home, April 27, 1995.
  • “Contemporary Crafts Find a Home in the White House”, Patton, Phil, p. 52. Smithsonian, June 1995.
  • “The White House Collection of American Crafts”, Monroe, Michael. New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1995.

1994

  • “Hand and Home, The Homes of American Craftsmen”, Simpson, Tommy. Boston, MA: Bulfinch Press/Little Brown & Co., 1994.
  • “Porcelain with a Past,” Bostonia, Spring, p.85, 1994.
  • “Crafts at the White House,” American Craft, June/July 1994.

MARA SUPERIOR: A RETROSPECTIVE

Published in 2006 by New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT

• Forward by Douglas Hyland, Director, New Britain Museum of American Art.
• Essay by Bruce W. Pepich, Executive Director and Curator of Collection, Racine Art Museum, Racine, WI

32-page, full-color exhibition catalog
$15.00

413: Pioneering Western Massachussetts, Fuller Craft Museum

Click here to view online catalog from the exhibition 413: Pioneering Western Massachusetts.
The catalog was produced by the Fuller Craft Museum who hosted the show in 2016.

“Mara Superior’s pieces are vessels of memory, powerful forms filled with remembrance of things past. They are commemorative icons expressing a hieratic spiritual quality that calls for ceremonial placement in the environment. The content of the drawings is contemplative and complex, the use of words gives clues to the paradox being explored…. Superior’s work is firmly grounded in the ceramic tradition; the ancient Greeks, too, decorated their ceremonial pots with narrative drawings. The fascinating physical beauty of glazed porcelain, with its copper-red blushes and floating cobalt blues, is of central value. They could not exist with the same impact in any other material. They are about ceramic art. The quality and content of the painting conjures memories of illuminated manuscripts and small botanical studies. There is a very personal and idiosyncratic quality in Superior’s work that co-exists with great strength and dignity. A unique freshness emerges from the artist’s almost cloistered, confident, personal vision.”

— Angela Fina, American Ceramics Magazine Review, 2015