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Mara Superior

news and stories

Mara Superior, 2020/USA/Vote/America, 16" w. photo: John Polak
We continue our series of news and stories about the twelve women artists 
in Nature/Nurture focusing on Mara Superior.

In the works presented in Nature/Nurture, Superior’s political views are expressed front and center. The large-scale porcelains use the format of Renaissance-era storytelling platters with wide-rimmed borders functioning as frames. Carefully placed medallions and miniature objects in relief are emblazoned with messages delivered in delicately, hand-painted, dreamy script with emphasis placed using all caps in bold and alternating between heavily laden serif and sans serif fonts. Whether she is channeling mother nature or calling on higher powers to impact the coming election, Superior delivers her message using the language of decorative arts to shout her beliefs in beauty and humanity’s inherent goodness. With work currently on view in numerous museums, we include links to the online opportunities to see these exhibitions and how her work has been acquired by museums with strong collections of contemporary American ceramics.

Originally a New Yorker, Mara has been living and working in Western Massachusetts since the ’70s. Her life and work are an ode to Western culture. While embracing traditional values of home and beauty, her work is from a modern perspective with a feminist nod to sensuality and pleasure. Whenever possible, she spends leisure time wandering the museums of the world – in person. But, now, quarantined at home, she is touring these museums virtually, attending online classes, watching zoom lectures, and enjoying her vast library of gorgeous art books. She shares these moments along with the slow progress of painting her next work All American Turkey on her instagram feed @mara_superior.

"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 has been working with director, Leslie Ferrin for over 40 years, its a long story....




NATURE/NURTURE | Group Show of 12 Women Artists
LESLIE FERRIN | Director Notes | Nature of Nurturing
CRISTINA CORDOVA | Nature/Nurture | PBS Craft in America - Identity
LAUREN MABRY | Nature/Nurture | Cylinders & Flow Blocks
ANINA MAJOR | Nature/Nurture | No Vacancy in Paradise
CRYSTAL MOREY | Nature/Nurture | Museum Acquisitions


Be Safe - Be Well - Stay in Touch
Leslie Ferrin
click HERE to request list of available works

"I was nurtured and encouraged to develop my imagination by my family and art teachers all the way through graduate school. Further enrichment came by way of my extraordinary good fortune to have been married to Roy Superior, a wonderful artist and professor of art.

Over the course of my career, ceramics, art schools, museum curators and society have evolved to become more inclusive. Barriers have disintegrated, and currently, it feels as if ceramics is female-empowered given that so many of the magazine editors, gallerists and many curators are women." - Mara Superior


Nature/Nurture is a group exhibition of twelve contemporary female artists invited to explore the influence of gender and its impact on their practice. The exhibition explores these ideas that range from direct interpretations of the natural world to more abstract notions, such as the construction of gender and the endowed role of women within their personal and professional careers. Works in clay range in form from individual vessels to composed still lifes and figural and abstract sculpture. This exhibition is closed until MASS MoCA reopens their galleries.


Nature/Nurture at Ferrin Contemporary, background, Mara Superior, foreground, Kadri Parnaments
photo: John Polak
click HERE to browse online shop
In 2018, through the generous support of the Kohler Foundation, gifts of art by Mara Superior were made to fifteen museums throughout the USA. This generous gift has opened opportunities for scholarship and public exhibitions. Several museums are currently showing works they received in this generous gift and plans are underway for a comprehensive career survey of the two artists’ works at the Racine Art Museum in Wisconsin.

On view in the PEM's 40,000-square-foot new wing featuring new installations, a light-filled atrium, a 5,000-square-foot garden all part of a $16M, museum-wide initiative associated with the expansion project creating entirely new experiences of virtually all of the museum’s collections.

Click HERE for more.

Top: Mara Superior & Dean Lahikainen, The Carolyn and Peter Lynch Curator of American Decorative Art at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Left: Mara Superior & Roy Superior, Sea of Plenty, Collaborative Cabinet, 2008, wood, paint, porcelain, glaze, gold luster, bone, ink, egg tempera, 10 x 10 x 3.5″. Gift of Kohler Foundation. 

Hood Museum of Art
Celebrating the 250th, the Hood Museum channeled the bounty of goodwill that made the new building renovation possible into renewed enthusiasm for the art collection at the heart of the museum. As part of this initiative over the past few years, the Hood Museum has received numerous gifts of true significance to the collection. These works will be on rotation in various galleries throughout 2020.

Click HERE for more.

Top: America: Danger!, 2018, 14 x 18 x 1.5".

Left: Angelo Da Vendemmia, 2002, 11 x 21 x 10".
Gifts of Kohler Foundation.
Sacramento, CA


Cool Clay highlights a selection of notable acquisitions that strengthen the Crocker Art Museum’s ceramics holdings in both diversity and scope. Spanning six decades of studio practice, this exhibition celebrates the ground-breaking achievements of 20th-century ceramists as well as those who today continue to reimagine the possibilities of working in clay.

On view at Crocker Art Museum

Click HERE for more.

Top: Cool Clay at the Crocker Art Museum

Left: Fantasia Teapot, 2007, high-fired porcelain, ceramic oxides, underglaze, glaze, faux painting, wood, brass pins, 13.5 x 8.5 x 20". Gift of Kohler Foundation.

Everson Museum of Art

A LEGACY OF FIRSTS: The Everson Collects
This exhibition examines over one hundred years of the Museum’s collecting priorities, from the Museum’s earliest acquisitions in 1911 to work acquired in 2019.

Click HERE for more

Everson Museum Online
May 15, 2020, from 1-2:30 pm

Garth Johnson, the Everson Museum of Art's Paul Phillips and Sharon Sullivan Curator of Ceramics will join Ferrin Contemporary's director, Leslie Ferrin to discuss the exhibition Nature/Nurture and the role of gender in contemporary ceramics. Mara Superior and other artists from the exhibition will also join in from their studio to discuss their practice and new works in process.

Top: English Delftware: A Collection of Blue Dash Chargers, 2016, 12.5 x 16 x 1.5".

Left: A Tea Temple, 1998, 18 x 23.5 x 7.5".
Gifts of Kohler Foundation.

Brockton, MA


Tending the Fires: Recent Acquisitions in Clay
presenting recent additions to Fuller Craft’s ceramic collection made possible through the generosity of artists, collectors and public foundations.

on view Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA

Click HERE for more.


Top: Tending the Fires: Recent Acquisitions in Clay at Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton MA.

Left: Mara Superior, A Spring Dream, 2008, high-fired porcelain, glaze, wood, gold leaf, 16 x 17 x 6". Gift of Kohler Foundation.

@marasuperior ON INSTAGRAM
sharing process, practice, works in progress, great food and flowers.
Even the “All American Turkey” is concerned 🦃🇺🇸🤦‍♀️

Follow HERE


Mara Superior is an American visual artist who works in porcelain. Her ceramic high relief platters and sculptural objects reflect the artist’s passion for art history and the decorative arts, and her painterly motifs range from the pleasures of the domestic to serious political and environmental issues as points of departure to comment on contemporary culture and its relationship to history. Superior has received numerous awards including a National Endowment for the Visual Arts Fellowship, the prestigious Guldaggergård Residency in Denmark, and numerous individual artist grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Superior has exhibited at the American Museum of Ceramic Art, (Pomona, CA), Scripps Women’s College, (Claremont, CA), and the Fuller Craft Museum, (Brockton, MA) among many other institutions. Her work can be found in the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, (Washington, DC), the Museum of Arts and Design, (New York, NY), the Peabody Essex Museum, (Salem, MA), Philadelphia Museum of Art, (Philadelphia, PA) the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, (Los Angeles, CA), White House Collection of American Craft, (Little Rock, AK). An in-depth collection of her work was recently acquired by the Racine Art Museum, (Racine, WI) with the support of Kohler Foundation, (Sheboygan, WI). In 2010 she was interviewed for the oral history program of the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, (Washington, DC). Superior studied at the Pratt Institute and Hartford Art School, completing her BFA in painting from the University of Connecticut followed by a MAT in ceramics from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. She is represented by Ferrin Contemporary.

click HERE to request list of available works
FERRIN CONTEMPORARY presents contemporary ceramic art for exhibition and sale at 1315 MASS MoCA Way in North Adams, MA; at ProjectArt at 54 Main Street in Cummington, MA and at galleries and museums around the world.

COVID-19 | Closed until MASS MoCA reopens regular hours. 
GALLERY HOURS: Wednesday - Saturdays 11 - 5:00
+ by appointment
+ by chance

PROJECT ART supports and promotes local and international ceramic art and artists through artist residencies, internships, workshops, studio rentals, events and exhibitions at 54 Main Street in Cummington, MA.

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