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Louis Marak

Biography to Display: 

1942Born Shawnee, Oklahoma


1965BFA University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana

1967MFA New York State College of Ceramics, Alfred University, Alfred, New York


1969-2006Faculty, Humboldt State University, Arcata, California


Louis Marak begins each piece with a full-size drawing that is transferred onto clay slabs and used as the pattern to cut the slabs and build the sculpture. His subject matter deals primarily with containers and containment.  His surface decoration is precise, created using ceramic slips applied in several layers to create optical illusions and perspective. Marak airbrushes the darker areas of his pieces.  

The trompe l'oeil decoration, in combination with the related sculptural elements, further tricks the viewer into reading 2D and 3D images as one composition. Reoccurring motifs include fish, hands, and water.


Public Collections to Display: 

Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York

Henry Art Museum, Seattle, Washington

Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, China

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles, California

National Museum of Jakarta, Indonesia

Oakland Museum, Oakland, California

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery, Washington, D.C.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California

Suntory Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan


Bibliography to Display: 

Almy, Katherine, “Louis Marak’s Ceramics: Perspective and Retrospective,” North Coast Journal Weekly,  February 23, 2006.

Pierson, Cathy Ray, “The Slab Work of Louis Marak,” Ceramics Monthly, February, 1997.



Typical Marks
Over the Rainbow
Date: 2000
Form: Sculpture
Method: Slab-Built
Surface Technique: Glaze
Margaret Pennington Collection
Photo: John Polak
Margaret Pennington Collection
Photo: John Polak
Covered Table with Open Box
Form: Sculpture
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Hand-Built
Surface Technique: Glaze
Courtesy Rago Arts and Auctions
Courtesy Rago Arts and Auctions

Citation: "The Marks Project." Last modified April 16, 2023.