COLLECTION FOCUS: Mara Superior at the Racine Art Museum

August 18, 2021 – January 15, 2022

COLLECTION FOCUS: Mara Superior at the Racine Art Museum

August 18, 2021 – January 15, 2022

Racine Art Museum
441 Main Street | Racine, WI 53403

ABOUT THE COLLECTION FOCUS

Blending past and present-day concerns, notions of Americana, and personal experience, Mara Superior playfully both challenges and adds to a history of porcelain decorative objects and tableware. With a singular aesthetic that feels reverent yet unique, Superior builds narratives that unfold through images, words, and form.

Comprised entirely of work from RAM’s collection that span over three decades, this exhibition showcases several of the artist’s core interests. They emphasize Superior’s personal history—her connection to art and ceramic history, her appreciation for “home” and ideas about the domestic, and her love of travel. While these are not the only topics she addresses in her work, they are foundational ones and provide a layered and nuanced accounting of the artist’s approach to working with porcelain. Engaging scenes play out across a range of objects, including platters, teapots, vessels, and a collaborative piece with the artist’s late husband, sculptor and furniture maker, Roy Superior.

Significantly, this exhibition debuts a multi-piece gift from the Kohler Foundation, Inc., that catapults RAM’s holdings of work by Superior from two pieces, already gifted by other donors, to 33. In doing so, this gift establishes several milestones for Superior at RAM—making her an archive artist as well as the most collected female ceramic artist and the second most collected ceramic artist regardless of gender.

ABOUT MARA SUPERIOR

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 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.

Mara Superior Artist Portrait, 2020. Photo by John Polak Photography