BIO

Roy Superior  (1934-2013)

Born New York City, New York, USA
Died Williamsburg, MA, USA

A renaissance artist, Roy Superior was a painter, sculptor, and wood worker.

His creations vary from the utilitarian to the whimsical, which include furniture, cabinetry, sculptures, drawings, and paintings. Many of his small wooden sculptures are model-sized “fantasy machines” that are imbued with a sense of irony and humor, often with art historical references. Some of these sculptures have moving parts and are expertly created using wood, antique ivory, bone, gold leaf, and brass.

Superior was also a professor of art, having earned his degrees in fine art from Pratt Institute and Yale University. He taught wood sculpture and furniture design at the University of the Arts of the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design for sixteen years. He also taught printmaking, drawing and painting at the Hartford Art School and the University of Hartford and at Hampshire College.

His work is in many public and private collections including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the New Britain Museum of American Art, Yale University, among others.

Obituaries
Yale Alumni Magazine
Daily Hampshire Gazette
Jewish Currents

STATEMENT
ARS EST VITA , VITA EST ARS

“I draw, I paint, I work in wood—making both sculpture and furniture. I choose my medium according to circumstances and need. For example, when traveling, since woodworking was out of the question—except for once carving a cane—I made drawings and watercolors. When I have a commission or my lovely spouse, Mara, desires a kitchen island, I make furniture. After returning from my last Italian sojourn, I went on a drawing spree. I keep journals on my trips, which I am currently rewriting and will eventually forge into a book containing adventures, drawings and paintings. Before I traveled my sculpture focused on patent model sized fantasy machines and art historical references, with some humor, satire and comment. Since Italy has been a major inspiration, my most recent sculpture celebrates Italian culture and cuisine—still retains a sense of humor and—contrary to current trends—remains on a miniaturized scale.”

“The art world tends to pigeonhole and categorize artists; whether I am called a painter, sculptor or woodworker, is of little concern. I am what I am—an artist that is motivated to work by an inexplicable internal necessity to make objects and images that react to, record and celebrate my life and surroundings. In lieu of having an identity crisis, I combine painting with my three dimensional work.”

“My art heroes are many, including Leonardo, Michelangelo, Bernini, Durer, Rembrandt, Bosch, Brueghel, van Eyck—some renaissance men, some not—all have at least one thing in common: the ability to reach deep into their soul and communicate expressions of ideas in a universal visual language that is timeless in its beauty and articulated with impeccable skill. Although I am occasionally amused by the ever-changing fashions of contemporary art, I constantly return to aesthetic values that have endured throughout history. My goal is to remain unique—to make work that needs no signature and above all—have fun doing it. Hopefully my audience will enjoy it as well.”

EDUCATION
1962 MFA Yale University, New Haven, CT
1956 Instituto Allende, San Miguel De Allende, Mexico, June-November
1956 BFA The Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY
TEACHING
2011, 2012

The Academy at Charlemont, Charlemont, MA, Visiting Artist.

1990-2006

The University of the Arts/Philadelphia College of Art and Design, Philadelphia, PA,
Professor of Art, Head/Wood Program, Chair/Crafts Department, 2000-02, 2003-05

1975 – 1983

Hampshire College, Amherst, MA, Associate Professor of Art

1972 – 1975

University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, Lecturer in Drawing and Life Drawing

1974 – 1975

Tunxis Community College, Farmington, CT, Lecturer in Drawing

1973 – 1974

Manchester Community College, Manchester, CT, Lecturer in Drawing and Printmaking

1972 – 1974

Central Connecticut State College, New Haven, CT, Lecturer in Drawing and Watercolor

1962 – 1972

Hartford Art School of the University of Hartford, Hartford, CT
Associate Professor of Art, Tenured 1969 – 1972
Assistant Professor of Art, 1966 – 1969
Instructor in Printmaking, Drawing and Painting, 1962 -1966

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS
Smithsonian Museum of American Art Archives, Washington, DC
Racine Art Museum, Racine, WI
Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC
New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT
Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC
Hechinger Collection, Washington, DC
Yale University, New Haven, CT
Connecticut Commission for the Arts, Hartford, CT
Suffield Academy, Suffield, CT
Connecticut Printers, Hartford, CT
SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2014 The Center for Art in Wood, Philadpelphia, PA “Roy Superior: Patent Models for a Good Life” (Posthumous)
2011 Neil Hammer Gallery, Meekins Library, Williamsburg MA
2009 Smith College, Oresman Gallery, Northampton, MA
2007 Ferrin Gallery, Lenox, MA
1995 Snyderman Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
1992 Snyderman Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
1991 New England Artists Series, De Cordova Museum, Lincoln, MA
1987 Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge, MA
1986 Allan Stone Gallery, New York, NY
1984 Alan Brown Gallery, Hartsdale, NY
1983 Heller Gallery, New York, NY  “More Improbable Inventions”
1982 Heller Gallery, New York, NY  “Improbable Inventions”
1981 Heller Gallery, New York, NY  “Rainmakers and Other Machinery of the Imagination”
1980 Danco Art Gallery, Florence, MA
1979 Hampshire College Art Gallery, Amherst, MA)
1976 Hampshire College Art Gallery, Amherst, MA
1975 Promenade Gallery, Bushnell Memorial, Hartford, CT
1974 Manchester Community College, Manchester, CT
1968 Abacus Gallery, Providence, RI
1968 Loomis Institute, Windsor, CT
1967 Hartford Arts Foundation, Hartford, CT  1966
1967 Verlé Gallery, West Hartford, CT
1965 Joseloff Gallery, University of Hartford, Hartford, CT
1963 Hartford Art School, Hartford, CT

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2017 “Sorcery & Craft“, Allen Stone Projects, Allen Stone Projects, New York, NY (Posthumous)
2012 “Sitting Pretty, Furniture from RAM’s Collection,” Racine Art Museum, WI
2010 “Simple Gifts, Contemporary Artists Explore The Shaker Legacy,” Hancock Shaker Village, MA
2010 “Different Lines: Drawings by Craft Artists,” Fuller Museum, Brockton, MA
2010 “Couples,” Ferrin gallery, Pittsfield, MA
2002 – 2010 SOFA NY, SOFA CHICAGO, Ferrin Gallery
2007 “Home Grown,” Ferrin Gallery, Pittsfield, MA
2005 “The Edges of Grace,” Fuller Museum, Brockton, MA
2004-05 “American Studio Furniture,” The Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Art Museum
2004 “Mentors and Models,” The University of the Arts
2004 “The Poetic Spirit,” Brookfield Center for the Crafts, Brookfield, CT
2002 “A Teacher’s Legacy, Former students of Roger Crossgrove,” University of Connecticut
2001 “Massachusetts Cultural Council Award Winners and Finalists,” Traveling exhibition: Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston, Worcester Center for Crafts, Berkshire Museum
2001 “Faculty Exhibition,” The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA
1997 “Time,” Snyderman Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
1996 “Sit On It!,” Snyderman Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
1995 “Recent Acquisitions,” Renwick Gallery, Washington, DC
1995 “Contemporary Wood Artists,” Kutztown State College, PA
1994 “Furniture Fantasy,” Susquehanna Art Museum, Harrisburg, PA
1993 “Artists & Their Pets,” Wustum Museum, Racine, WI
1993 “Teapot Show,” American Crafts Museum, NYC
1989-91 “New Art Forms,” Chicago, IL, Represented by The Ferrin Gallery
1988 “Mara Superior, Josh Simpson, Roy Superior Recent Works,” The Ferrin Gallery
1988 “New Directions in Contemporary Crafts,” Leverett Arts Center, Leverett, MA
1987 “Works Off the Lathe: Old and New Faces,” Craft Alliance, St. Louis, MO
1987 “Out of the Woods II,” Wisteriahurst Museum, Holyoke, MA
1987 “American Craft at the Armory” Seventh Regiment Armory, NYC
1986 “Environs,” Baumgartner Gallery, Washington, DC
1986 “Out of the Woods,” Thorne’s Gallery, Northampton, MA
1985 “New Talent,” Allan Stone Gallery, New York, NY
1985 “Visionary Constructions,” Invitational, Gallery of Fine Art, Ohio State University
1984 “Gallery Artists,” Great American Gallery, Atlanta, GA
1983 “Cross Section,” Heller Gallery, NYC
1983 “National Wood Invitational,” Craft Alliance, St. Louis, MO
1983 “Approaches to Collecting,” American Crafts Museum, NYC
1982 “Inaugural Exhibition,” Great American Gallery, Atlanta, GA
1981 “Five College Art Faculty,” University of Massachusetts, Amherst
1980 “Valley Drawings,” Thorne’s Gallery, Northampton, MA,
1979 “Furnished: A Show of Contemporary Furniture,” Leverett Arts Center, MA
1977 “Alumni Exhibition” Yale University, New Haven, CT
1976 “Five College Faculty,” University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
1974 “Faculty Exhibition,” University of Connecticut, Storrs
1973 “Gallery Artists,” Fairtree Gallery, NYC
1973 “New Hand-Made Furniture,” Domus Locus Gallery, NYC
1969 “Artists in Connecticut Colleges,” Trinity College, Hartford, CT
1969 “Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts,”New Britain Museum of American Art, CT
1967 “The Nude in American Art,” Verlé Gallery, West Hartford, CT
1960-62 “Graduate Student Print Exhibition,” Yale University
1960 “Alumni Exhibition,” The Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY

GRANTS
1999 Massachusetts Cultural Council, Finalist in Craft
1993, 1998 The University of the Arts, Venture Fund Grant
1982 Massachusetts Foundation For the Arts, Finalist in Sculpture
1978-1982 Hampshire College, Amherst, MA, Research Grant

PRIZES & AWARDS

1975 Hartford Arts Festival, Cash Award
1975 Beth El Annual Exhibition, West Hartford, CT, Cash Award
1973 Hartford Arts Festival, Purchase Award
1972 Hartford Arts Festival, Honorable Mention
1970 Beth El Annual Exhibition, West Hartford, CT, Purchase Award
1969 Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, New Britain Museum, CT, First Prize
1968 Beth El Annual, West Hartford, CT, First Prize in Drawing
1966 American Watercolor Society, National Academy, NYC, Ted Kautzky Memorial Award
1965 Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford, Purchase Award
1964 Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, Charles Noell Flagg Memorial Award for portraiture
1964 Hartford Arts Festival, Honorable Mention
1962 New Haven Arts Festival, Honorable Mention
1960 New Haven Jewish Community Center, Honorable Mention

SELECTED PRIVATE COLLECTIONS

Agnes Gund, New York, NY
Jim Henson Estate, New York, NY
Karen Boyd Johnson, Chicago, IL
Louisiana Pacific Corporation, Portland, OR
Allan Stone Estate, Purchase, NY
Dr. Paul and Melinda Sullivan, West Hartford, CT

BOOKS

2008 “Studio Furniture of the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum,” by Oscar P. Fitzgerald, Fox Chapel Publishing, East Petersburg, PA
2003 “Artful Jesters, Innovators of Visual Wit and Humor,” by Nicholas Roukes, Ten-Speed Press, Berkeley/Toronto
2000 “The Angler’s Life,”, by Larry Sheehan, Clarkson/Potter, NYC
2000 “Teapots Transformed, Exploration of an Object,” by Leslie Ferrin, Guild Publishing, Madison, WI,
1995 “Tools as Art, The Hechinger Collection,” by Pete Hamill, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., NYC
1994 “Hand and Home, The Homes of American Craftsmen,” by Tommy Simpson, Bullfinch Press/Little Brown & Co., Boston, MA
1983, ’78, ‘73 “The Art of Drawing,” by Bernard Chaet, Holt/Rinehart/Winston, NYC
1975 “Decorative Art and Modern Interiors, “75, ’76, Woodworking, An Appraisal,” by John Makepeace, Studio Vista/Viking Press

PERIODICALS
2017 Allan Stone Projects at Seattle Art Fair 2017, Blouin Art Info (Posthumous)
2014 Models, Brailler, Philosophy and Religion Collide at Center for Art in Wood, Knight Foundation (Posthumous)
2010 Preview Magazine, December, “Interiorview, Superior Décor” by Sarah Buttonwieser
1997 The Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine, 13 April: “Philadelphia Furniture: Glory Days Again”
1996 Smithsonian Magazine, April, “Tools as Art, John Hechinger’s Tool Art Collection”
1996 American Craft Magazine, February/March: Focus, Exhibition Review by Bruce Metcalf
1996 Woodshop News, February, “At the Galleries”
1989 Art Gallery International, October, “Chicago International New Art Forms Exhibition” by Bruce Pepic
1988 Woodshop News, April, “Artist Creates Fantasy Sculpture,” by Donna Hartman
1987 Scale Woodcraft Magazine, Winter, “Secrets of a Mini-Wheelwright” by Roy Superior
1986 Art Speak, NYC, June, Review by C. Firestein
1985 Art In America Annual Guide to Galleries, Museums and Artists
1985 Scale Woodcraft Magazine, Summer, “Roy Superior, Artist in Wood” by Richard West, cover article
1984 Fine Woodworking, number 45, March/April, “Superior Ex Machina” back cover
1983 Artspeak, Dec. 16, “Heller Broadens Out” by Will Grant
1982 American Craft Magazine, June, Portfolio Section
1982 The Atlanta Journal, April, “New Gallery,” by W. C. Burnett
1982 Arts Review, 26 February, London, UK, “Period of Transition in Crafts, The New York Scene,” by Malcolm Knapp

NEWSPAPER REVIEWS
2010 The Boston Globe, 22 August, “Other lines, Other Wonders” by Cate MqQuaid
1988  Daily Hampshire Gazette, 16 July, Northampton, MA, “Small is Beautiful in Sculpture, Too,” by Patricia Wright
1987 The Washington Times, January, Washington, DC, Review by Alice Thornton
1986 The Washington Post, 13 December, Washington, DC, Review by Jo Ann Lewis
1985 The New York Times, 15 December, “Pioneer Valley Artists at Work In Massachusetts,” by Eleanor Blau
1983  The New York Times, 15 September, “A Show of Wooden Sculpture,” by Ruth Katz
1982 Valley Advocate, 14 April, Northampton, MA, “Superior Artistry, Wood Sculptor Makes Objects for All Time,” by Debra Gorlin
1980 Valley Advocate, 15 May, “He Knows All the Lines” by Laura Holland

TELEVISION

1985 WGBY-TV, Springfield, MA, “Roy Superior, Wood Artist” from the series “By Their Own Hands,” a 30-minute interview in studio and home, produced by Claudia Elferdink:
1983  WNEW-TV, New York, NY, Saturday Morning Live, hosted by Gene Rayburn
1983  WGBY-TV, Springfield, MA, The Wild Turkey Jazz Band at the New England Arts Festival, a 90-minute concert at UMASS, Amherst
1964 WTIC-TV, Hartford, CT, Insights, a 30-minute lecture program on printmaking
1963 WTIC-TV, Hartford, CT, Insights, a 30-minute program lecture on drawing

LECTURES AND WORKSHOPS

Connecticut:
Central Connecticut State College, New Britain
Manchester Community College
West Hartford Art League
East Hartford Art League
Manchester Art Club
Glastonbury Art Club
Massachusetts:
Bascomb Lodge, Adams
Smith College Gallery Talk, Northampton
Artists Lecture Series, Ashfield
Horizons, Williamsburg
Hampshire College, Amherst
Berkshire School, Sheffield
Leverett Craftsmen and Artist, Inc.
New Jersey:
Peters Valley Art Center, Peters Valley
New York:
Heller Gallery, NYC
Pennsylvania:
Snyderman Gallery, Philadelphia
International Woodturning Conference, Kutztown State College
Vermont:
Green Mountain College, Poultney
Wash., DC:
“Whimsy and Craft in the Home,” slide lecture and panel discussion, Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Art Museum with Mara Superior and Tommy Simpson

RELATED PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
1974-75 Forman for the Knox Foundation restoration of 1914 Stein and Goldstein Carousel, Bushnell Park, Hartford, CT
1957-60 Freelance Illustrator, NYC: Editorial and advertising illustrations for Doubleday Publishing Company, Columbia Records, Pfizer International, Westinghouse Space Program, Parents Publishing Company, Children’s Digest Magazine, Catholic Digest Magazine, Blue Shield Educational Division, Westpark Publishing Company, Groody Advertising Agency

OTHER PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

Since 1956 Performing Jazz Musician, playing clarinet and soprano saxophone with traditional jazz bands including the Red Onion Jazz Band, Galvanized Washboard Jazz Band, New Black Eagle Jazz Band, Paramount Jazz Band, Royal Garden Jazz Band and various other groups in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, the Berkshires and throughout New England. Founded and led The Wild Turkey Jazz Band, Rising Phoenix Jazz Band and Southern Winds Jazz Quintet


“My entire life has been devoted and committed to art. I make it and teach it—indeed, my very survival is dependant upon art. I enjoy every aspect of art from its’ history to the tools, techniques and materials required to produce it.” – Roy Superior